RED BANK, NJ – TAPinto Red Bank has be offering a series of “Back of the House” articles profiling the men and women of who make Red Bank “work.”  Our purpose is to have the borough residents gain a personal sense of the people who perform behind the scenes to keep the town running and safe 24/7.  Hence, “Back of the House.”

We spoke with Nick Piscitelli of Red Bank’s Department of Public Works and asked him a few questions.

TAP: Tell us about yourself, where you grew up and your family life

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I grew up in Sayreville.  I have three younger sisters and am the only deaf person in my family.  My parents realized I had hearing loss when my father was working on his race car with my uncle and some other guys.  When they revved the engine, I didn’t flinch.  After, I got hearing aids and started school in programs for kids who are deaf and hard of hearing, where I learned sign language, as well as how to lip read and articulate (speak English).  At home, my family didn’t sign.

I met my wife Saundra, in 2005 at the Ocean Deaf Club.  We’ll be married 13 years on September 30th.  My wife is an American Sign Language – English interpreter and also teaches at Ocean County College in their Interpreter Training Program.  She teaches students who want to either interpret or work with people who are deaf.  Sign language interpreters provide services so that deaf and hearing people can communicate with each other.  I use interpreters when I go to the doctor and, in fact, I use interpreters to call hearing people using my video phone.

TAP: What’s your job title how long you’ve been with the Borough of Red Bank?

My job title is Automotive and Truck Mechanic and I’ve been with the Borough of Red Bank for about 15 years. 

TAP: What training do you have, and with all the new automotive technology, how do you keep your skills current?

I’ve been working on cars pretty much my whole life.  My dad taught me how to fix cars for as long as I can remember.  He would tell me to take the car apart, explain what everything was, and then I would put it back together.  I’ve had formal training at vocational school, as well as other courses, like air brake training for example.  I keep up with the automotive technology by watching different shows on tv, like Two Guys Garage

When it comes to working on cars, I’ve had to be creative finding ways to ‘hear’ the sounds that they’re making.  I use the vibrations that I feel with my hands and I also touch a pry bar to the car where the sound is coming from and put the other end in my ear, which helps me figure out what’s making the sound, so I can fix it.  Sometimes, these things just don’t give me the information I need, so I ask (RBPD) Captain Mike Frazee to help me by describing what he hears.

TAP: What borough vehicles do you work on?

I work on police cars, township pickup trucks, garbage trucks, snow plows, pretty much all township vehicles.

TAP: What outside activities do you do to relax?

I like to sit out by the water and play with my dogs, Serge and LaVerne.  I also like to work around the house taking care of the landscaping and general maintenance.

TAP: Talk about your hearing disability, the cause, severity and length that you’ve been deaf

I don’t have a disability, I’m deaf.  I have Congenital Rubella Syndrome.  My mom had Rubella when she was pregnant, so I was born with hearing loss and glaucoma.  I have a profound hearing loss, but that doesn’t stop me from doing anything someone without hearing loss does.

TAP: How do you communicate with those who don’t know signing?

I learned how to lip read and I speak English.  It’s important that the person I’m communicating with faces me and doesn’t cover their mouth or turn around when we’re talking.  It’s hard to lip read and follow a conversation when there is more than two or three people.  I use a hearing aid, so I know when someone is talking, but it doesn’t mean I understand what they’re saying.  I get used to people’s voices when I’ve known them for a while and I can understand some of what they’re saying, but I know that what I hear is different than what someone who isn’t deaf hears. 

TAP: Tell our readers something about yourself that none of your co-workers know

I go to the Waretown United Methodist Church, which has the largest deaf/hearing congregation in the country.  We have a Deaf Lay Person, and there is a team of sign language interpreters.  There are "butt kickers" audio speakers placed under the first 6 rows of pews on the one side of the church.  These are hooked to the band’s instruments so we can feel the vibrations of the music as it is being played.  I love the heavy beat of the music!

Funny story: Once, when I was about 10 or 12 years old, I got into the shower and turned on the water.  I started to wash myself and I realized I could hear the water!  I thought I got my hearing!  I couldn’t believe it – I could hear!

I realized that wasn’t what happened.  My hearing aid got wet and started making a loud buzzing sound.  I jumped out of the shower and used the blow dryer to dry it off.  It was expensive and I knew my parents were going to be angry if they had to buy a new one.

Nick Piscitelli; great guy, great personality, great mechanic and a lot of fun to be around. 

Another reason that makes Red Bank such a cool town.

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