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A Cardinal Signal

Voice of America’s skating man on the corner seems to spread positivity and cheer but there is a deeper meaning behind it all.
A+Cardinal+Signal

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY ELLIANA CELIS

 

 

Bill Kraimer is a local celebrity. Anyone who has driven by the Voice of America park in Liberty Township, Ohio, on a nice day has seen him.

Donning a helmet, sunglasses, and earbuds and blasting anything from AD/DC to old folk music, he dances up and down the sidewalk in roller skates. Sometimes accompanied by his wife, Valerie.

He gets fistbumps and high-fives from passing cars. He was invited to skate at the 2024 Cincinnati Reds Opening day parade. Everyone knows him.

But he does not skate for the attention.

“We all have gifts in life, and mine is skating, spreading joy,” Bill said, before he is interrupted by a cardinal flying by and perching on the tree next to him.

He smiles.

Because whenever he and Valerie see cardinals, they think of Simone.

Simone Scott, Valerie and Bill’s daughter, was a bright, active member of the community.

Valerie said Simone’s mission in life was to “give a voice to the people who needed it.”

Simone graduated from Mason High School in 2020 and attended Northwestern University, her dream school.

She was working towards a double major in broadcast journalism and political science/pre-law.

She was loved by everyone she met.

She passed away due to complications after a heart transplant on June 11, 2021, at 19 years old.

“Hundreds of people came to her celebration of life,” Bill recounts, smiling. “She was a bright light in this community.”

Valerie and Bill started a non-profit organization in her name, giving out scholarships and sponsoring programs that lined up with Simone’s ideals.

Lumier: The Simone Isabella Scott Foundation.

“We are trying to carry on her memory in any way we can,” Bill said, holding back tears.

Simone’s legacy will live on in more ways than one.

In an alleyway between Gary’s Barbershop and the Mason Deerfield Chamber lives Angel Alley.

In Angel Alley is a mural painted with the names of students in the Mason school district who have passed.

Next to each name on the wall is a unique symbol that represents each individual person. Next to Simone’s name is a Cardinal.

So, in her memory, Bill will keep skating.

Bill will keep spreading joy.

Bill will keep giving back in every way he can, helping Simone’s memory live on.

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