• Scarlett Bauman, Fundraising and Marketing Manager

A Fresh Start at Bob Hope Village for an Air Force Surviving Spouse

You make it possible for widows of U.S. Airmen to have a home near those who understand military life

Donna met her husband Tom in 1971 through mutual friends at a local diner near their hometowns in Pennsylvania. Tom enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1972 and one year later they married. While stationed at Dover AFB their daughter, Tonya, was born, and their son, J.D., was born while stationed at Charleston AFB.

The family followed Tom’s Air Force jet engine mechanic career to Guam, Plattsburgh, NY, Germany, and back to Dover where he retired in 1995 as a master sergeant with 23 years in service. According to Donna, Tom found it difficult transitioning back to civilian life. He died unexpectedly 4 years after his military retirement.

“I was grieving the loss of Tom for many years and at the same time I was caring for my mom who had COPD,” Donna explained. “After my mom passed away, I was looking to make a change for myself.”

Donna’s son in law was stationed at Eglin AFB and she often visited Tonya and her family. During one trip, she decided to visit Bob Hope Village.

“My first reaction was that I’m not old, and I’m not ready for a retirement community,” Donna said. She made the move to Bob Hope Village for a fresh start in a warm climate near her daughter and family. J.D. moved with her so Donna has both her children and her grandchildren nearby.

Donna says that when she first moved to Bob Hope Village, she expected to spend all her time with her family. She started walking and riding bikes with another resident and quickly became friends. Donna started participating in more activities and attending special events at Bob Hope Village with her new friends.

When she’s not biking and walking, Donna is busy playing on three Wii bowling teams, attending water aerobics, Zumba, and yoga classes, and plays the chimes with the Village Chimers group. She also likes to volunteer her time, play bunco, and enjoys the parties and planned outings.

“I just love it here,” Donna said. “My friends back in Pennsylvania envy me when I tell them about my life here at Bob Hope Village. They are happy for me.”

Feel inspired by Donna's story? You can make a difference in the lives of military widows like Donna. Click HERE to make a gift now.

Interested in living at Bob Hope Village? We have apartments available now, and we're open for tours. Contact our admissions department at 850-651-9422.

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