Hermitage Health Center hosts graduation ceremony for resident’s grandson

There were few dry eyes at the Hermitage Health Center Wednesday afternoon, as residents and family members alike put on a surprise graduation ceremony for resident Brenda Faye Williams’ grandson.

Williams’ daughter, Peggy Campbell, said they got news Friday Williams had only a few days left.

Williams, however, told them it was her last wish to see her grandson, Andrew Stanley, graduate high school, and Unaka High School seniors do not officially graduate for another month.

Therefore, they put on their own graduation ceremony so she could attend.

The family began setting up the ceremony.

“We were going to do something little,” Campbell said.

However, this “little” plan quickly changed once the nursing home heard of the plan, and they immediately began setting it up as an official event, decorating an outdoor pavilion to host the ceremony. By that point, Unaka High School principal Betsy Oliver agreed to officiate the miniature ceremony as if it was his official graduation.

Stanley’s friend group also participated, dressed in their official graduation gowns and walking up to their principal with music playing from a radio.

“My friends and I are really close,” Stanley said. “Their generosity means the world to me.”

Williams said she loved the ceremony.

“I never thought they would do something like this,” she said.

Campbell said the amount of support she received from the community once they found out, from the nursing home to the high school, was incredible.

“It warms my heart,” Campbell said. “[Hermitage] took over just because of her.”

She said the doctor informed the family Williams should not have been sitting up at that point, but there she was, sitting upright in her wheelchair watching the graduation ceremony.

The ceremony itself was a complete surprise to Williams, who heard about it only briefly the night before.

“It was unbelievable,” Williams said.

Stanley said the ceremony should inspire people to make every second count.

“It was emotional but also relieving to do this,” he said.

Campbell said the best part of the ceremony was watching her mother.

“I will remember how happy my mama is,” she said.

SportsPlus

Local news

Upcoming events in Elizabethton….

Local news

JCPD promotes autism awareness with challenge coin

Arrests

Two caregivers arrested for neglect of vulnerable adult

Local news

Dept. of Health denying teens preventative healthcare, citing new parental consent law

Local news

Report: 988 lifeline provides robust support for mental health crisis in Tennessee

Local news

Maker’s Market kicks off Christmas in July in Downtown

Local news

The Salvation Army of Johnson City announces adjustments in services

Local news

A Life Lived: Betty Lacy’s life revolved around family, friends  

Local news

Carter County Commission approves budget without raising taxes

Local news

tnAchieves celebrates 5 million community service hours

Local news

Tri-Cities Airport partners with Eastman for plastic waste recycling initiative

Local news

Tennessee lawmakers react to attempted Trump shooting

Local news

Tennessee gas prices drop five cents, remain among lowest in the nation

Local news

Tennessee Historic Preservation grant fund applications now being accepted

Local news

Gardening Seminar at Sycamore Shoals

Local news

ETSU: Drought situation growing dangerous   

Local news

First Baptist Elizabethton to host free food bag distribution

BREAKING NEWS

Escaped inmate charged with murder in connection with disappearance of Victor Birchfield

Local news

Council hears complaints about LED lighting, cruise-in confusion

Local news

City OKs on-premises beer permit for ‘pub bar’ at pickleball facility

Local news

Man seeking asylum charged with fraud, financial exploitation of Carter woman

Local news

Senator Bill Hagerty endorses Renea Jones for TN House District 4

Community

Senior Center Schedule

Local news

The Crumley House Polynesian Beach Party rapidly approaching