The background information Nicols presents in the guide for each stop is designed to stimulate conversation by those on the WalkAbout, he said. For instance, the author draws attention to the fact that the route includes three war-related memorials and questions why less attention is paid to the history of peace.
Nicols also steers visitors into Lakewood Cemetery, to the gravestone over the final resting place of his son, Henry J. Nicols, who as a 10-year-old boy with hemophilia contracted the AIDS virus from a transfusion and went on to become an advocate for those suffering with the infection. He passed away in 2000 at the age of 26.
“The community was tested by the AIDS epidemic when Henry got HIV/AIDS, and the entire community refused to discriminate against one of their own,” the father wrote. “They stood with our family and with Henry. They passed the test.” The book then encourages members of visiting groups to discuss how they might be treated if they were “different.”
Those who complete the Cooperstown WalkAbout are eligible to earn a certificate of recognition or a medal that features an image of the Indian Hunter Statue, the book said. The money raised from the sale of the medal and certificates will all be distributed to local youth groups, Nicols said.
Nicols, who has previously published books about his son’s advocacy for AIDS patients and the Appalachian Trail, said the 56-page guidebook will be on the shelves of local book stores and can also be purchased on the online store amazon.com for $10 per copy.
The book is published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.