Randy Chappell became a CODA in 1956. With ongoing training from his mother, Gloria, and father, Charlie, he grew up in the Deaf world of Talladega, Alabama. Home of the Alabama School for the Deaf, the Chappell family always were at the conferences, picnics, and ball games involving the Deaf Community in various states.
After graduating from Talladega High School with honors, Randy accepted a position as teacher aide at Helen Keller Cottage, the deaf-blind school in Alabama. Randy attended a variety of colleges and began interpreting in medical and educational settings, mostly in the Birmingham area. He earned the Comprehensive Skills Certificate in 1980, and then the NAD Level V in 1995.
In 1980, Randy married the former Sheila Reid, who is deaf, and they have four children, Summer, Andrew, BJ, and Ryan. Sheila has been a sign language teacher since 1978, and Summer has become a renowned certified interpreter.
In 1982, Randy took on a new challenge, the United States Air Force. Becoming a Staff Sergeant and an engineering accountant/technician involved Randy in planning, evaluating, financing, and reviewing projects. Acquiring military awards and recognition was fairly common, along with involvement in sports and social groups, while being stationed in Georgia and Arizona.
Leaving the Air Force in 1992, he moved to Memphis and began working for DeafConnect, the local nonprofit agency. Becoming the Lead Interpreter, he has interpreted for presidents, governors, doctors, attorneys, and also, unemployed and those with physical challenges with aplomb. At his first Tennessee RID conference, he was elected Vice President, and has continued to serve in various offices, including President of TRID from 2012-14. He was appointed to serve nine years with the Tennessee Council for Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing, and four years on the Bylaws Committee for RID.
While doing all those things, he still managed to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication at the University of Memphis in 1996, and is within six hours of attaining an AA in Paralegal Studies. While in the Air Force, he earned his AAS degree in engineering technology in 1992.
Randy relies on experiences with the Deaf community, military planning and budgeting, and community assignments to guide decision-making. Truly enjoying RID conferences and events, he also conducts and coordinates training workshops for the seasoned and the new interpreters in Memphis and Tennessee. Rest assured that Randy is a dedicated, loyal, and energetic member of RID and is very honored to be on the national Board of Directors.