From staff reports
Do you remember what you were doing on April 15, 1989? Do you know what day of the week you were born? Many would have to Google or refer back to a journal to remember.
Not H. K. Derryberry. He is a youth with a nearly perfect memory. He can remember anything that happened on any given date.
Derryberry and Jim Bradford, his friend and mentor, were recent guests speakers at the Athens Rotary Club.
Bradford, who is a native of Limestone Co., said he met Derryberry 13 years ago at Mrs. Winners Chicken and Biscuits in Brentwood, Tenn. With the help of Bradford and others, Derryberry has developed exceptional skills throughout his life and wants to become a motivational speaker.
Derryberry was born prematurely due to a fatal automobile accident involving his mother. The early birth led to blindness and cerebral palsy from the accident. At age 5, he was abandoned by his father and was raised by his single grandmother.
Derryberry encourages all to have a positive attitude. “I have accomplished much in my life with what I have been given, surely you can accomplish your goals,” he said. Although he has much to overcome, he uses humor to make his points.
Derryberry is involved with memory research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and hopes his “autobiographical” memory may be used in memory disorders like Alzheimer’s.
While he considers being voted by fellow students as king of the senior prom and graduating from high school as his greatest accomplishments, others see a young man who touches the lives of many and will make an impact on those reaching for the seemingly impossible.