My favorite part about volunteering is seeing the smiles on the faces of the people who I brought a little joy to that day and seeing a child with special needs learn how to swim and be safe in the water.
Bill Boatman is no stranger to community service. He began volunteering more than 55 years ago when he joined the Boy Scouts - and he’s never looked back.
Bill and his wife Linda, who goes by the nickname Lindy, own and operate a company called Pool Hoppers Aquatics based in Douglasville, Georgia. While they teach people swimming techniques and supervise swimming therapy sessions for people of all ages and abilities, Bill and Lindy focus mostly on special needs children, many of whom are autistic. Bill and Lindy have also lent their expertise to swim clubs throughout the South. They help clubs obtain their USA Swim Team credentials, volunteer at swim clubs and swim camps, and help countless numbers of children learn to love and be safe in the water. They never turn any child or adult away, regardless of their ability to pay.
“My primary volunteer focus is teaching swimming to special needs children,” Bill said. “Secondly, Lindy and I have been donating many hours over the past seven years collecting and giving books to schools in need. One 4th grade teacher in particular was a former swim student of ours and when she became a teacher, we learned there was no library at her school. We collected nearly 300 books for her classroom and then 50 books each for all of the other grade levels at her K-6 grade school,” he said. “From that experience, we brought this service closer to home. My wife works for the local school system at a residential treatment facility, Youth Villages, for troubled children, ages 5-18. She decided that each child should have a book or two they can call their own when they are discharged from the facility - so our project continues on.” He said. “The smiles on these children’s faces, when they get a book they asked for by title, is simply priceless.”
Bill and Lindy are also busy recycling cans, getting the money, and buying supplies for kids in their community who are in the Backpack Program. That means a great deal to both Bill and Lindy. “My favorite part about volunteering is seeing the smiles on the faces of the people who I brought a little joy to that day and seeing a child with special needs learn how to swim and be safe in the water,” he said.
After more than 55 years, why does Bill continue to volunteer?
“I believe volunteering in the community shows that everyone can play an important part in making the community a better place to live,” Bill said. “I also wanted our three sons to see the importance of volunteering as they were growing up. To this day, all of our sons volunteer, too! It takes a village and we all are part of the village.”
You may be surprised to hear that Bill served in both the Army and the Navy. We’re sure that makes for some interesting times around the television during the annual Army-Navy football game! An avid Gardner, Bill also enjoys hunting, fishing, reading, and perhaps best of all, plenty of Cabot Vermont Extra Sharp Cheddar.
Bill’s first Cabot Community Celebrity Cruise was in 2010, Lindy is unable to join Bill on this cruise as she will be volunteering for the 21st year in a row at the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial Weekend working with middle school students who lost a family firefighter in the line of duty. Bill returns as a 2019 Community Celebrity alumnus and Lindy will be with Bill in spirit.