Blog Article

A Veterans Advocate at 100 Years Young.

Most people think Bob is in his seventies. But his birth certificate doesn’t lie. He was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, over 100 years ago. His fellow residents at American House Coconut Point think so highly of Bob that they secretly ordered banners and decorations to deck out his front door entrance and later threw him a surprise party on his big day. “It was really great,” Bob said. “I appreciate my fellow residents very much.”

When he finished high school, World War II was under way and he was drafted into the U.S. Navy at the age of 19. “I went to bootcamp in Newport, Rhode Island, and then I got on a ship, a destroyer. I went to England and the Mediterranean. I never made it to the Pacific. We took care of the deck and made sure it was seaworthy. I liked being on a ship. It was good for me.”

Bob served three years in the Navy during the war. England was a highlight, though it was in bad shape when he was there. His ship was supposed to dock in Bristol, but the bombing was so heavy the ship ended up in South Wales. He was in London when the Nazis were dropping bombs on the city. Bob also spent time in Gibraltar on Spain’s south coast, in Bermuda and many cities in North Africa, where he was stationed when Germany surrendered.

“I came back to Massachusetts after the war and went to work for a company called the United Shoe Machinery. They put me through school for the next three years. I eventually got a better offer for growth and opportunity and went to work for Sylvania.” A series of promotions took Bob from foreman to the head of his department. He was head of planning, estimating and capital equipment and worked at Sylvania for 30 years.

When he wasn’t working, Bob spent all his free time with his wife and five children. All his kids, four daughters and one son, eventually followed Bob to Florida and live nearby.

He has been at American House for 18 months and loves it. “Everything is pretty darn great here,” he said. “The whole team does an amazing job at everything they do.” The same can also be said of Bob and his work for his fellow residents.

According to Maribel Ortiz, the Life Enrichment Director, Bob is an advocate for all the other veterans at American House Coconut Point. “He understands all the benefits that veterans are offered, but not all of them are aware of all the benefits they have access to. Bob visits veteran clinics and obtains all the important information needed. He brings it back to me and we hand it out to all our veterans. Just last week, we had a gentleman named Russell who just moved. He’s a veteran and wanted to know where he could go to get his hearing aids fixed. Because of Bob’s hard work, I was able to provide Russell with everything he needed. Bob does such a wonderful job as an advocate for our veterans. He’s a very special guy.”

Bob’s family comes to see him often and he remains very active in the community. When he’s not doing an exercise class like Zumba chair, he’s walking outside and always helping out, often hand delivering items to residents’ apartments. He may be 100 years old, but Bob is definitely a man on the go.

We all have a story. A story that taught us something, changed us and helped define who we are. At American House, your next chapter is waiting to be written. We’re here to help you write it. Your way.

Written By

Jim Dudley

With over 20 years of writing experience, Jim has worked for some of the biggest ad agencies in the Detroit area before joining American House. He earned a degree from Marquette University.

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