When Cathy Werling retired three years ago from her career as an elementary educator in Fort Scott, she was given an amazing opportunity to combine her love of writing with her passion for working with children. Her extra time in retirement made it possible for her to work part time at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott.
Cathy was moved by the center’s amazing stories of people who had positively impacted the lives of others through their caring and selfless actions. These stories had been uncovered and shared by fourth-through 12th-grade students and their teachers from across America and even from other countries.
Cathy had always loved writing and had loved sharing great stories with her first-grade students, so the idea to combine those two passions was appealing. A plan emerged to bring the stories of unsung heroes to a level that young children could understand and be positively influenced to make good choices in their own lives. Consequently, Cathy began work on an Unsung Heroes children’s book series for elementary school-age children.
Cathy is the daughter of resident Della Mae Raguse and will be at Fort Scott Presbyterian Village at 3 p.m. March 5 for a presentation about her project.
Cathy’s first book, “Why Did Grandpa Cry?” is about Ken Reinhardt, who chose to befriend and stand up for nine at 3:00 p.m. black classmates who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. More than 40 years later, Ken’s granddaughter, Jennifer, learned about the brave choices her grandfather made and the impact those choices could have for her as well.
Cathy has completed the writing for two more books in this series, and they are being illustrated and published in the first half of 2018. Plans are to include 10-12 unsung heroes’ stories in this series. The goal for these books is to provide positive role models for young children and encourage them to make those brave and caring choices that can make a difference in the lives of others.