People who live at Woodlands Retirement Community enjoy more than just a maintenance-free life filled with fun, friends and peace of mind. They also find meaning and a sense of fulfillment by being a part of the greater Huntington, West Virginia, community, and by volunteering for causes that are important to them. Meet a couple folks who make Woodlands brighter, and make living in Huntington—a place we’re proud to call home— better for everyone.
Meet John Anderson – caring for the kids and beyond
John Anderson has been involved with the Boys and Girls Clubs for more than 50 years, and he continues to support the organization with his leadership. Since he returned to Huntington, West Virginia, in 1987, he has helped both of the city’s Boys and Girls Clubs units. Specifically, he’s been president of Huntington’s Boys and Girls Clubs since 2005.
“A very big part of what we do for the clubs is fundraising,” John noted. “We’ve secured more than $3 million in pledges for the club, which has helped us serve the most in-need children in the area.”
John continued, “We serve more than 170 local kids a day, ranging in age from 6 to 18. These are kids who are at or below the poverty line and are living through very challenging family situations. We provide them hot meals and keep them busy, year-round. The certified teachers at our clubs help the kids with school subjects they need enrichment in, and they lead extracurricular activities like guitar lessons, visual arts and computer skills.”
While there are many aspects to his own role within the organization, John’s favorite part about what he does is simply seeing firsthand the difference it makes.
“What I enjoy most is walking in and seeing the excitement in the kids’ eyes because they know someone cares about them,” John said.
His work goes beyond serving kids, too. John is the president of Riverview Manor, an affordable housing residence in Huntington for the elderly, handicapped and unsupported.
“Riverview Manor is an outgrowth of a church program; it’s a nonprofit, safe place for people who need assistance,” John added. “We’re really excited because the facility just paid off its mortgage, so it will continue to serve those who depend on it.”
Between his work with the Boys and Girls Clubs, Riverview Manor, and the scholarship that he and his wife, Patty, established for Huntington Public Schools seniors, John is driven to serve people—no matter where they are in life.
“I just get a lot of joy out of helping people, in all age categories,” he said. “I have a passion for volunteerism.”
Meet Dan Ingram – continuing to serve
Dan Ingram is a veteran of the U.S. Navy who also lives at Woodlands. He served his country in Vietnam, and he continues to serve by helping fellow veterans.
“I go to the [Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center in Huntington, West Virginia] for the medical care I need, and I saw that there were some volunteers there, so I checked into volunteering myself,” Dan explained. “I found out they needed volunteers, so I signed up and got started as soon as they accepted me. I wanted to give back to fellow veterans in the way that the VA has given to me.”
Dan volunteers every Monday and Friday at the VA as a medical escort to help veterans get around all the different departments of the medical center. He helps people get to and from surgery, diagnostic tests and more, whether via wheelchair or medical bed.
“Being able to take them where they need to go, the thankfulness they express is so meaningful,” Dan shared. “I’ve met so many different types of veterans, folks who have served in WWII and every war since, and they’re all so grateful.”
Dan said that it’s eye-opening to see so many different kinds of veterans, and one thing in particular that he noticed is the number of female veterans who come to the VA.
“Today, there are so many more women coming to the VA than in previous years—many people don’t realize the number of women who have served,” Dan said. “Fortunately, we have a phenomenal VA here. This VA is an honor to those who have been able to serve.”
When reflecting on his volunteerism, Dan humbly stated, “It’s very rewarding to be able to serve these people. I’m honored to be able to serve veterans this way.”
At home at Woodlands
When the volunteering tasks are done for the day, Dan and John are glad that they can go home to their residences at Woodlands.
“It’s a super place to be,” John said. “The caliber of the staff is awesome, and it’s like being at a nice resort. From day one when we moved in, we’ve been at home here. We feel like we’ve always been here.”
Dan agrees, noting that he knew Woodlands was right for him and his wife since the first time they set foot on the beautiful campus:
“We’re from Teays Valley, [West Virginia], and didn’t really know anything about Woodlands until we came across it by accident in the community paper. It looked interesting, so we made an appointment to come take a look. Right when we toured, we knew it was the place to be.”
When you choose to live at Woodlands, you’re choosing a vibrant community full of friendly neighbors. And as you can see, those neighbors are just as passionate as you are about helping others and making their community a better place. We will be sharing more of their stories in the future (stay tuned to our blog), because our community includes some really special people.
So, to get a firsthand look, we recommend doing as Dan did and visiting for a tour—even if you don’t know much about Woodlands yet. Our friendly team will welcome you, and you’ll quickly get a sense of how special it is to live here. You can request a tour by clicking here or calling 304-697-1620 today. We look forward to meeting you!