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WYSO, the Dayton Metro Library and local social service agency, Rebuilding Together Dayton, have come together for a very special project. We’ve gathered the memories and wise words of Dayton’s elders for Senior Voices, a new series that is airing throughout 2018.Along with Dayton Metro Library staff, we trained nearly three dozen area residents to use digital recording equipment to interview local elders. Interviews took place at branch libraries, at selected Lobby Stop locations (Lobby Stop is a sort of book mobile for seniors), community centers, and in the homes of seniors who participated in the Rebuilding Together Dayton Fixit Kit program.We held three trainings at the DML Northwest branch this summer, and shortly after the new main branch opened in August, the volunteers began gathering stories. The full interviews will be accessible for generations to come at the Dayton Metro Library. At WYSO, Community Voices producers have been editing the interviews for broadcast. We present them to you in honor of the life experiences and wisdom of Dayton elders.This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.Jocelyn Robinson coordinated this series for WYSO. Janine Kinnison is the Project Liaison for Dayton Metro Library.Editors include: Dave Barber, William Brown, Tess Cortes, Patti Gehred, Javis Heberling, Kateri Kosta, Zebedee Reichert, Jason Reynolds, David Seitz, Alan Staiger, Chris Welter. Interviewers include: Dana Kragick, Tess Cortes, Anna Omulo, Doug Bowers, Hadley Drodge, M. Alice Callier, Barbra Gerla, Jason Coatney Schuler, Linda Pitzer, Carol Jackson, Audrey Ingram, Susan Brenner, Nancy Messer, Christian Davell, Ken Standifer, Liz Anderson, Cynthia Wallace-King, Karen Maner, David Murphy Sr., Cynthia Rush, Alan Stagier, Debra Root, Pamela Waltrip, Jennifer Hicks, Brandon Ulman, Karah Power    

Senior Voices: Kenneth Sommer

Kenneth Sommer
Senior Voices
Kenneth Sommer

This week on Senior Voices, 90-year old Kenneth Sommer recalls the high school football coach who made an impression on him at Chaminade High School back in 1945. Kenneth shared his story with Dayton Metro Library interviewer, Jennifer Hicks. 


Kenneth Sommer: Mr. Gerard “Fuzzy” Faust. He was a mentor. He was a marvelous man. He was a real man, he was a man that boys looked up to. He had a great degree of respect for girls, and he gave us respect for girls. He taught us to play like a team. He taught us discipline. He was kind of a father for me, and he told me I was pretty good, and that made me better. He was an extraordinary example.

But the greatest remembrance I have, is we were undefeated and were playing another team that was undefeated, maybe the best in the state. And at the half time, they were beating us badly, and badly and not only score-wise, but they were beating us bad physically. And we come in at the half and we’re all crying. We’d never been this way ever all year.

Fuzzy Faust came over, said, “All you boys come over here. Gentlemen, we had a great season, I’m proud of every one of you, you’ve done everything I’ve said. I’m proud of you. But this is very hard for me to say.”

He was a graduate of Notre Dame, by the way, and he said, “And I don’t like what I’m saying, and I wish, I don’t want to say this, but I’m going to say it. I don’t care boys, I want to tell you, I don’t care whether we win or whether we lose. I want each and every one of you to know I’d be proud to call you my own son.”

POW! We went out of that locker room and we massacred ‘em. Where did we get that other energy? Where did we get that…we did things we never knew we could do. We had collectively and personally reached down in our souls and did something that was heroic and we never knew we had it, and we had it, and we knew we had it, and we wiped ‘em out and we beat ‘em and we beat ‘em bad. That’s a good one, isn’t it!

This interview was edited by Community Voices producer and Senior Voices project coordinator Jocelyn Robinson. Senior Voices is a collaboration between the Dayton Metro Library, Rebuilding Together Dayton, and WYSO. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.