There’s nothing like working with kids. They’re great learners, and they keep me young. I love every minute of it.
Bill moved to Tennessee when he was 13 and has remained ever since. "That almost makes me a native," he says. Bill graduated from Belmont College and worked with a CPA firm but decided he wanted a more active life and moved on to coatings and painting. Bill is also a Viet Nam vet. His wife Judy will join him on the cruise.
Bill seems to have unlimited energy and volunteers for everything. He watched his mom serve as a volunteer and help others all her life, and it rubbed off on him. As a Viet Nam veteran, Bill knew many soldiers who didn't make it back or suffered grievous wounds. He was concerned for the kids of fallen soldiers. He worked with these kids through the Buddies of Nashville. Bill took them on camping trips, taught them how to drive, and counseled them for years. One of them recently named his son after Bill and now takes his kid to all the places Bill used to take him.
While he loves veterans, Bill's heart is really with the kids. He and Judy have hosted foreign exchange students from Denmark, the Netherlands, and Brazil, and they still stay in touch with them. He was a baseball coach for 8-12 year-olds for four years, and he has worked with Oasis and its predecessor organization, The Rap House, for decades. Oasis focuses on troubled teens from ages 13-18, working to get the kids on the right path. Bill shoots hoops with the kids, accompanies them to the YMCA, or just provides a good ear to listen to their problems.
In his 50's, Bill decided to become a whittler, and he hand carves some 125 different figures. Whenever a child tells Bill he can't really do much, Bill says "Yes, you can. Watch this." Along the way he has taught many kids the fine art of whittling. Says Bill: "This has all been a wonderful journey. I've done a lot of things, and I treasure the chance I've had to impact the lives of so many youngsters."