Among the newer residents at Sunnyside is Richard Hodge, who moved to the Highlands in late July. Richard and his wife Jane, who lives in Assisted Living, came most immediately from Waynesboro, though before that they lived in Burke, in Fairfax County. Richard was born in West Virginia and grew up on a 20-acre “hillside farm,” a term that suggests not much of the land was arable, though his family did grow vegetables.

After he graduated from high school, Richard worked at a Swift Packing Distribution Center but enlisted in the Navy during the Korean War. He served for four years, including some time on the USS Missouri, a large battleship. After the war Richard used the GI Bill to enroll in Marshall University, where he earned a B.A. in accounting.

From this time on, Richard used his numeracy skills in various capacities, generally with VA Hospitals. He first worked as an accountant at a VA Hospital in West Virginia, but later he worked at a number of others, including those in Fort Howard, Maryland; Coral Gables, Florida; and Augusta, Georgia. He finished up his career at the central office of the Veterans Administration, near Lafayette Park across from the White House.

Richard and Jane have three daughters, two of whom live in Virginia (Culpeper and Nelson County) and one in New Jersey. In addition, they have three grandchildren, two boys (identical twins) and a girl. Richard showed some talent as a woodworker when he put together (from a kit) grandfather clocks for each of his daughters.

As an adult, Richard’s primary social outlet has been the Masons. He joined in 1958 and is still an active member. In fact, after his retirement from the VA in 1993, Richard served as a tour guide at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria.

While admitting that he might not have moved to Sunnyside had it not been for Jane’s medical requirements, he seems happy to be here: “You cannot find more pleasant and friendly people,” he explains. “They will do anything for you. Everyone I see here is a friend.”

Please welcome Richard as you meet him on campus! --John Noffsinger --Photo by Mary Rouse