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December 8, 2004

Deaf Man Accomplishes Much In Short Life

From: WSFA, AL - Dec 8, 2004

For most of us, the sounds of a pick-up basketball game are familiar. Even the sounds of nature such as a bird whistling in the air. But for 19-year old Albert Ross, sounds like the voice of his dad could never penetrate his world of silence.

"He was born deaf," says Albert Ross, Sr.

Ross' life was devoid of hearing. He played basketball for the Alabama School for the Deaf and Blind and silence dominated his life. Today, all the family has are pictures of the younger Ross framed with memories of a kid who wouldn't let his deafness get the best of him.

"He knew he was loved," Ross says.

Ross died Sunday in a car wreck in Florida. He and several other former classmates who were also hearing impaired were driving home to Alabama after playing in the deaf adult league in Daytona Beach. Playing ball was Ross' life and joy.

"He had a long way to go, accomplished a lot and would have accomplished a lot more, a lot more," says Ross.

Albert Ross was doing just that at Target in east Montgomery, becoming the first deaf employee, according to the family. Yet when Ross' dad stops and collects himself emotionally during our interview, he knows his son could have done so much more. Ross' only son had overcome the stigma of being deaf.

"He was independent. He didn't ask for anything, bought his own gas and clothes," says Ross.

In a way Ross' deafness may have actually been a gift.

"I tell you why he's kind of fortunate. He couldn't hear the rap crap they play on the radio. All the cussing and fussing, maybe that's why he's doing better," Ross says.

Doing better perhaps says Mr. Ross and hearing the angels sing.

It's still not clear how the wreck happened. We do know Albert Ross was a passenger and the driver has been arrested for obstructing justice for allegedly lying about driving the Chevy suv.

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