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'CODA' star and Mesa native Troy Kotsur receives key to the city

Academy Award winner Troy Kotsur was honored Thursday in his hometown of Mesa.

MESA, Arizona — He made history by becoming the first deaf man to win an acting Oscar; now, he has a key to the city where he was born and raised.

Troy Kotsur, 54, was honored for his achievements as an actor in Downtown Mesa. Mayor John Giles presented the Key of the City to Kotsur Thursday night. 

RELATED: Troy Kotsur wins Academy Award for role in 'CODA'

"It was such an honor to receive that key," Kotsur signed. "It was such a big step forward for this community and I never thought it could happen."

The Westwood High School graduate received his first Best Supporting Actor Oscar during the 2022 Academy Awards for his role in the movie "CODA," giving a shoutout to Mesa in his speech

"Getting a shoutout in the Oscars was a big deal for Mesa," said Mayor Giles after the ceremony. It's rare for someone to receive this award and Giles said the key deserves to be with Kotsur. 

"He is such a great advocate and emissary not just for the deaf community but for his hometown for so many great causes and so that's why we were so anxious to have this opportunity," Giles said.

CODA, which stands for children of deaf adults, also won Best Picture.

Acting has always been a passion of Kotsur, but he admits growing up in Mesa was not always easy. He was bullied because of his disability. Now, everything has changed. 

"They are not looking at me as a deaf person but they are looking at me as a talented person and that is what is important to me," Kotsur signed.

The actor also discussed changes he would like to see in the town where he grew up. He wants improved access to the deaf and hard of hearing community in emergency situations. 

As for what Kotsur plans on doing with his new key to the city, "I'm hoping I can break into the bank with this key and take your money," he jokingly signed.

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