ST PAUL, Minn. — One effect of the pandemic in Minnesota: press briefings became a weekly and sometimes daily occurrence. And somebody needed to translate.
That's when Nic Zapko came in: an ASL interpreter whose animated delivery drew a lot of attention on social media.
"I feel somewhat overwhelmed," Zapko told KARE 11 in June. "This is all so unexpected because I was just showing up to work and I certainly didn't expect to go viral. So I am touched, I am inspired and I am inspired that they are inspired."
Zapko, who is Deaf, said she reads each of the Tweets and Facebook messages fans send her.
On Tuesday, Zapko's birthday, she got some slightly more official recognition: Gov. Tim Walz proclaimed March 9 as 'Nic Zapko Day' in Minnesota.
"There's somebody (who's) been here since the beginning, ensuring every single Minnesotan had access to this information in real time," Walz said at the end of a Tuesday morning press conference. "That person is by far the most popular person on this podium and the most well-known. So I would like to make a proclamation today for Nic Zapko, our interpreter, who we've all come to really appreciate and enjoy and who is totally unaware I was going to go this."
Zapko, of course, was there to translate. You can watch the moment when she found out below.