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Hear This! An Evening of Stories Across Generations

SAIL’s Hear This! An Evening of Stories Across Generations featured four of its members as storytellers on March 12.  

David Rampy described the bravado of his Kansas high school football team that backfired after winning their division championship.
David Rampy
Elinor Ross told of her courtship and marriage to Sherman during WWII in Mississippi and meeting his West Virginia Family.
Elinor Ross


Jack Young compared the lives of two inspiring individuals he knew from different generations and cultures.
Jack Young
Betty Snyder shared a childhood story of farm life in the West Virginia mountains where she was raised by her grandmother.
Betty Snyder


The evening also featured stories by several Shepherd students and a faculty member. 


Randy Underwood, an engineer who returned to Shepherd to pursue Appalachian Studies, told a “coming of age” tale about his first fishing trip with his dad and uncle
Randy Underwood
An international student from Niger, Nasser Achirou, shared his passion to bring accessible water to a West African village
Abdoul Nasser Achirou
Chloe Johnson, an English major, delivered a colorful account of how she acquired her love of literature though her father.
Cloe Johnson

Professor Keith Alexander
Keith Alexander, a history faculty member assisting with the Hear This! Project, recounted how important SAIL was to his dad’s quality of life, challenged by Alzheimer’s, until his recent death

Hear This Event attendees
Hear This Event Reception

Each story held the rapt attention of nearly 60 Shepherd students, SAIL members and community friends who spread out in the Erma Ora Byrd auditorium to practice physical distancing on the eve of the COVID-19 shutdown.  Following the stories, audience members enjoyed a sumptuous sampling of elegant deserts and drinks in the lobby. Commenting on the evening, SAIL member Marie Tyler-McGraw thanked SAIL for “an evening of stories that were well-crafted and well-told by a diverse group of locals who pulled us into their lives.”


Catherine Irwin
Catherine Irwin, SAIL’s Fundraising Chair, opened the event by thanking its many generous donors and recognizing its co-sponsor, Shepherd’s Appalachian Studies Program directed by Sylvia Shurbutt.  

Adam Booth
Adam Booth, a nationally acclaimed storyteller and Shepherd faculty member, introduced each storyteller. Adam’s coaching of the evening’s storytellers in two Saturday workshops, garnered praise by Catherine “for his amazing ability to teach the art of creating and telling a story.”

Special thanks to SAILers who made the event happen: Marianne Alexander, Jane Freeman, Catherine Irwin, Maylene Reisbig, Carolyn Rodis and Carolee Youngblood.  Thanks also to Winnie Bernat and Suzie Patrick for reporting on the storytelling workshops that yielded coverage in the local press and fundraising committee members Joan Ergin, Esther Murphy and Jack Young for their support of the event.


The evening of storytelling wrapped up a yearlong SAIL project, supported in part by a grant from the WV Humanities Council, that brought SAIL members and Shepherd students together to interview each other about formative events in their lives. If you missed the storytelling or want to enjoy it again, go to go to the event youtube by clicking HERE

Sail's Creation

SAIL's creation is rooted in the "Village Movement", a neighbor helping neighbor system developed around the country by seniors who are assisted by other members of their community.  SAIL provides members with help going to and from the grocery store and appointments, with simple home repairs, with access to reliable service providers, with organized outings to cultural events, and fun activities such as walking groups, board game and card groups, and more.  SAIL membership is open to anyone interested in its services who lives in the 876 and 870 telephone exchanges.

 “Keeping the wind in our sails!”

Office Phone:


Shepherdstown Area Independent Living
PO Box 2091
Shepherdstown, WV 25443