Danny Cale Honored for 15 Years of Service

Danny Cale was honored recently for 15 years of service to Boys Home of Virginia. Mr. Cale has been employed at Boys Home at other points in time, so his total service to Boys Home approaches nearly 22 years.

Originally from Baltimore, Mr. Cale’s mother moved the family to Covington after his father’s death. At that time, Danny was 14 years old. Upon his mother’s death, Mr. Cale came to live at Boys Home. He was 16 years old.

As an eighth-grade student, Mr. Cale was unable to write his name or read. The campus at that time housed 110 boys, compared to today’s average of 60. He arrived on campus with a speech impediment and a determination to find his way in his newfound surroundings. He became a proctor in his cottage, a position of responsibility and leadership. He learned to play chess from Business Manager W. T. (Bill) Toles and went on to participate in and win chess competitions. Travis J. Tysinger was the executive director at the time and Mr. Cale states that, “He was the first adult that I truly respected.” Mr. Tysinger became the first father figure Mr. Cale would encounter and even stood in as his best man when Mr. Cale later married Sandra, his high school sweetheart.

For two summers, Boys Home sent Mr. Cale to the Summer Literacy Program at the McGuffey Reading Center in Charlottesville. The center is and continues to be the oldest university-based reading center in the country. Mr. Cale, who had previously found many reasons to not attend school, was now ready to change that trajectory and began to apply himself to academic success. And succeed he did. He became an honor roll student and received academic awards at Boys Home.

After graduation from high school at twenty-one, he became the first of nine children in his family to attend college. Of that moment, he says, “No one was prouder than me when I stepped into my first college class.” It was during those years that he and Sandra decided to get married. They returned to Boys Home as a couple and became house parents, living on campus and impacting other young men who needed a second chance at success.

After a successful career with several companies, Mr. Cale decided to return to Boys Home. In his time here, he has been a house parent, support services coordinator, team leader, maintenance worker, and is currently the maintenance supervisor.

Mr. Cale talks about his legacy. “My legacy is me being able to talk to a young man at Boys Home and help him. My legacy is being able to give that young man a feeling of home. It’s what we can give to other people on this earth that really matters. That’s what really drives me—what I’ve done for other folks.”

Alumni of Boys Home have a motto: Few have lived as we. “That means a lot to me,” says Cale. “I would like to think that I am thought of by folks in a kind way.” Mr. Cale is a familiar face on campus, always ready to offer a kind word or say something that brings a smile to a coworker or student. In fact, it is entirely possible that he would even pause for a bit and teach a young man how to play some chess.

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