Doug Hickerson shares Brockport stories

By on September 18, 2017
Doug Hickerson. Provided photo

Doug Hickerson. Provided photo

For over 25 years, Doug Hickerson has been composing human interest stories for the Westside News newspapers as contributing writer in the Brockport area where he lives. After retiring in 1992, people he knew or heard about in his community began to capture his attention as subjects for newspaper stories.  Now there are over 170 accounts of their interesting personalities, gifts, and contributions to the community. Some interesting public places are also included.

Selecting a sample of 100 features, Hickerson will review his writing in a Power Point presentation Tuesday, October 10, in the Seymour Library Duryea Room, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The library is located at 161 East Avenue in Brockport.

His first story is of a young woman in his church who miraculously survived a life-threatening disease and then gave birth, defying the negative predictions for the disease. In the background is the church’s extensive support for her and her family. A follow-up story covered the birth of a second baby three years later.

The rest of the presentation is not in chronological order.  A kaleidoscope of characters is offered, such as: Mateo Mortellaro, a local high school freshman adopted from Columbia who started his own farm business and gave $4,000 to the Columbian orphanage where he was adopted; Chet Fery, “The Bread Man,” is in his thirteenth year of baking bread in his home and giving away 40,000 loaves to people with whom he shares stories of human kindness.

For some pieces, the title tells it all: “The Nesbitts: Sealing driveways and bonding the family – Hamlin father and three lovely daughters do dirty driveway sealing.”  In “Cast iron or cotton quilts,” retired Kodak engineer Jim Smith goes from creating steel components to designing and making hundreds of quilts to be given away.

Local artist Dianne Hickerson has been the photographer for her husband’s articles since she took colorful photos for the quilt article in 2011. Prior to that, the writer took his own photos.

Hickerson’s training and background is not in journalism, but in higher education administration. With a Doctorate of Education from Penn State University, he has served in student development administration for over two decades in liberal arts colleges, his last position was assistant vice president for student affairs at The College at Brockport.

As a freelance writer, Hickerson has published articles in “Genesee Country Magazine” and “The Good News Rochester” Christian newspaper. In the late ‘80s and through the ‘90s, he penned extensive op-ed essays on cultural violence and other social issues in the Rochester daily newspapers.

“As a pastime in retirement, exploring my community and writing about the people has been very gratifying,” Hickerson said.  “I am grateful to Westside News for accepting my articles for the Suburban News and Hamlin-Clarkson Herald for over a quarter of a century. My special thanks to Evelyn Dow, editor emerita, with whom I worked for 23 years. And, more recently, thanks to Kiri Patella Ryan, editorial assistant, for enabling my articles to continue.”

A retrospective of Hickerson’s articles in print will be on display in four portfolios in the Local History Room of the Seymour Library beginning October 10 and extending through December.

The last three years of Doug Hickerson’s articles can be seen at: www.westsidenewsny.com/author/doug-hickerson/

Editor’s Note: In the September 10 Westside News newspapers, the date for this event was given as Monday, October 9. It has since changed to Tuesday, October 10, as stated in this article.

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