An Aspiring Writer is Born



Morgan Hall 

The Ashland Beacon

   Nikki Dudley, a speech and language Pathologist with Caring Moore Homes introduced me to Tony Nickel, a stroke survivor that had a long career in construction, where he also created scaffolding for work sites. Nickel has developed a love for writing and Dudley has encouraged his passion by starting a company newsletter. Dudley shared how the company newsletter began, “I started a little newsletter at the facility, and he (Nickel) decided to give it a whirl just to humor me. Fast forward to a little over a year later, and he is churning out one or two page articles every month. He has discovered a new passion and catharsis with his writing and he has managed to make clients and staff at our facility laugh, cry, and reminisce about parts of local culture we had forgotten. I'm telling you, this man is special. He's a glue that keeps other clients motivated; even when he struggles with his own transition from brain injury rehab, back to a more independent life. He needed some coaxing to realize how good his writing actually is and that he should reach out to a paper; such as yourself, to see if his talents could be of use or help others in the process.”

   Nickel introduced himself, “My name is Tony Nickel, and I am a five-year stroke survivor. I live at Caring Moore Homes here in Ashland. I am writing to tell you a little about myself and about the great newsletter we do here at CMH. We’ve had a newsletter for over a year now, I have contributed 13 articles myself and usually I have one to two articles per newsletter.  I have found a new joy in writing. I never would have liked doing this before my stroke, but since I have been writing for the newsletter, I have found that it can be used as a coping mechanism. It’s something that keeps my mind busy and off other things. For instance, the fact that I’ve had to adapt to new ways of living, learning to use one arm (i.e., cooking, and opening items differently), and compensating for left neglect which affects what I see.” It is amazing the obstacles that Nickel has overcome and his optimism is infectious. 

   Nickel explained his love for writing and poetry goes back to when he was young, “In the past, I had some interest in writing, because of my Great Uncle Lee Pennington, the “Poet Laureate of Kentucky.” When he would come home to visit, I would write poems and get him to read them. He would tell me the writing was good, then give me feedback on what I needed to work on.” It seems that many folks that are aspiring writers, start their love for writing at a young age. I recall that I had a diary with a lock myself, from a very young age. Before I could write words, I would doodle pictures. It's fair to say, writers have lifelong love for words.

   Caring Moore Homes is a facility for acquired brain injuries. Some people live in their homes; they also offer outpatient services. The patients get all of their therapy at the facility. The goal is to prepare patients to be out in the community. “They take us on outings, like going to the movies, out to eat, shopping, and the pool. I would also like to give CMH the recognition it deserves, because a lot of people don’t know about this place. If it weren’t for this place, a lot of us would be in a nursing home,” said Nickel.

   Nickel told us how Dudley approached him to begin the company newsletter, “When locked down from COVID, one of the speech therapists approached me, because they said I'm ‘full of stories and random facts’ and saw my potential.” Then Nickel went on to describe his writing experiences with the company, “While writing, depending on what I’ve chosen to write about, I catch myself reminiscing about good times and sometimes bad times. The good times I’ve written about are hunting and fishing with my boys when they were little. While writing you begin thinking about the next story. People tend to get emotional reading my articles, because I write about real life.”

   We commend Nickel for reaching out to us and sharing his newfound love for writing and introducing us to the folks at the Caring Moore Home facility, by explaining what an important role the people there have played in his life. You’re never too old to learn something new and Nickel has taken his childhood love for writing to the next level, by writing in the company's newsletter and bringing smiles to everyone that reads his stories.