Walz declares 'Nic Zapko Day' for ASL translator's service during pandemic

Governor Tim Walz presents ASL translator Nic Zapko with a framed proclamation declaring "Nic Zapko Day." (FOX 9)

Governor Tim Walz declared Tuesday as "Nic Zapko Day" in honor of the ASL translator who has appeared at nearly all of the governor's in-person press conferences during the COVID-19 pandemic to help convey the latest updates.

At the end of his press conference Tuesday, Walz made the declaration and presented Zapko with a framed version of the proclamation. Zapko interpreted Walz's message as he made the announcement, first learning of the honor as she made her translation.

"There's been somebody been here since the beginning, ensuring that every single Minnesotan had access to this information and that person is by far the most popular person on this podium and the most well-known," said Walz.

Walz said 20 percent of Minnesotans identify as deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing.

"Over the past year, Nic Zapko has provided critical ASL translation to update Minnesotans on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic," Walz read from the proclamation. "Nic’s translations have ensured that the Minnesotans who identify as deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing receive real-time information about health and safety."

The day also coincided with Zapko's birthday.