Ben Carson, a world-renowned neurosurgeon and former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is not a stranger to Sussex County.
Carson developed what has become a lifelong friendship with John and Linda Hollis of Seaford during the building and opening of the Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club in Seaford. Hollis, a retired coach, teacher and school administrator, was president of the board at the time. Carson played a vital role in securing funds for the $4.5 million project.
Carson has visited the area countless times over the past 25 years, and his three sons spent parts of their summer vacations with the Hollis family. He has attended numerous events in the area over the years as a featured speaker. His youngest son, Rhoeyce, is a University of Delaware graduate, and Carson delivered the university's commencement speech in 2000.
So it's not a surprise he paid a quick visit to the area on Dec. 11 for a book signing at the Schellville Christmas Village near Rehoboth Beach. He and his wife Candy were flown from Naples, Fla., to Georgetown and driven to Schellville that night thanks to the Schell family.
Carson, who has authored six best-selling books, has written his first children's book, “Why America Matters.” His American Cornerstone Institute donated 1,000 copies of the book for the event.
He founded the institute this year to fight for the principles that have guided him through his life – life, faith, liberty and community.
The institute champions conservative solutions to the problems the nation faces. According to the institute's website, “With independent research, grassroots outreach, and collaboration with state and local entities, faith-based groups, and private organizations, ACI will work to heal the divisiveness that plagues our nation's politics.”
Carson, 70, grew up in Detroit, Mich., and was raised by his mother. In his book, “Gifted Hands,” he describes how the love of reading championed by his mother changed his life. The cancer survivor retired from medicine in 2013 and turned his attention to politics. He and his wife Candy have three sons and several grandchildren.
He ran in the Republican presidential primary in 2016, withdrew from the race and supported Donald Trump. He served in the Trump administration as HUD secretary.
Carson has received numerous honors for his neurosurgery work, including more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees and numerous national merit citations. The bestselling author received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008, and in 2009 was named one of the top 10 most admired persons in the country. The Library of Congress selected him as one of its 89 Living Legends, and he was named by CNN and Time magazine as one of the nation's 20 foremost physicians and scientists.
He was subject of a 2009 TV film based on his book, “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.”