March 2, 2016‐Mount Vernon, NY—On February 15th, Wartburg hosted a reading and signing of NY1 reporter Cheryl Wills’ book The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills, a brilliantly illustrated children’s version of her book Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale. The book pays homage to the treasured story of her great-great-great grandfather, Sandy Wills, who fled his slave master, Edmund Wills, and fought valiantly in the Civil War from 1863 -1865 as a member of the United States Colored Troops. The event was held in the state-of-the-art Rehabilitation and Adult Day Services Center located on Wartburg’s beautiful 34-acre historic campus in Mount Vernon, NY. Over 65 people were in attendance, including school-age children, Wartburg Adult Day Services registrants, staff and community members.
David J. Gentner, Wartburg President and CEO, began the event by welcoming all those in attendance. During his opening remarks, Mr. Gentner noted “The Wartburg is honored to welcome back Cheryl Wills’ today as she continues to share the journey she has traveled in discovering her family’s tale that began with the Civil War 150 years ago with her latest book written especially for young readers. As Wartburg celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, it is fitting to remember the organization was founded in 1866 as The Wartburg Orphans’ Farm School, first a safe haven to children orphaned by the Civil War, and today for seniors who want a safe and stimulating environment in which to live. Together the Wills’ family and Wartburg will continue to celebrate their rich heritage and create legacies for those to follow.”
Told with deep love and honesty, The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills, stretches from Haywood County, Tennessee, in the 1860s to New York City in the twentieth century. Cheryl Wills shares the unvarnished truth about the Wills’ family roots, ever entwined in passion, music and faith – presented it in a language and style welcomed by young readers. The highlight of the afternoon was when Ms. Wills invited all the children present to “create” their own illustrations of the book by passing out selected pictures from the book along with crayons. Children eagerly engaged in the activity!
Ms. Wills is well versed in conducting extensive research as a nationally recognized award-winning journalist for NY1 News. Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale and The Emancipation of Grandpa Wills are based on thousands of documents she received from the National Archives while researching her ancestry. Ms. Wills has been traveling to schools across the country to share her story of this real-life saga.
Cheryl Wills is an anchor and senior reporter for Time Warner Cable’s flagship national news network, NY1. Cheryl takes great pride in being the Founder and Commander of the New York State Chapter of the Sons & Daughters of the United States Colored Troops, a national organization based in Washington, DC. With that platform, she enjoys teaching students of all ages about the contributions of the 200,000 black soldiers who fought during the Civil War.
Wartburg, located in Westchester County, NY, offers integrated, comprehensive senior care services for your changing life. Unlike conventional retirement communities, we provide a wide range of services to both residents living on campus and people in their own homes. From independent, assisted living and award-winning nursing home care to inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation, home care and adult day care services, our continuing care approach means you can trust us to be here for your family – how, when and where you need us to be. We also provide caregiver support every step of the way, so you can navigate your options and find the level of care that’s right for your whole family.
Most recently, Wartburg received the Eli Pick Facility Leadership Award from the American College of Health Care Administrators, which will be presented this upcoming March, in addition to being named one of the “Best Nursing Homes in New York State”, by U.S. News & World Report for the fifth consecutive year.
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