Lessons Learned at Boys Home

Bobby Trice, Boys Home resident 1985 -1993

When Bobby Trice was a child, his father brought a couple jars of jelly home from his job at a jelly factory every week, because the family couldn’t afford dessert. The rundown apartment the family lived in smelled like cigarette smoke, and cockroaches lived in the walls. Eventually, his father stopped bringing home jelly, and food became scarce. The police brought Bobby home three times for playing in traffic, throwing rocks at cars, and smashing a car window with a brick. Realizing the family was struggling, the pastor from Bobby’s church started providing them with food and clothing from the food pantry and clothing closet at the church. Eventually, he connected the family to Boys Home, and Bobby arrived 2 months after his 6th birthday.

Bobby had a difficult time adjusting to life at Boys Home, where he was the youngest by at least two years. Some of the other boys picked on him, while others chose to look after him. Eventually, he settled in and excelled in sports and academics.

After completing the 8th grade, Bobby’s family situation had stabilized, and he returned home to start high school. However, he got involved with a group of kids in his neighborhood, which led to a series of poor choices. Over the next few years, school became an afterthought until he was three years behind his peers. He returned to Boys Home for a few months, but Boys Home sent him home again.

Bobby realized he needed to make a change when things at home took a turn for the worse. His neighbor was arrested on felony drug charges, his other neighbor was murdered, and a friend had been sentenced to life in prison at the age of 17. Realizing that he didn’t want that kind of life, Bobby’s early lessons from Boys Home began to resonate. The value of respect, discipline, and work ethic he had learned as a child began to make more sense. He enrolled in night school to finish his GED. A month later he enlisted in the Army to be a Combat Medic.

Twenty years later, he retired as a Master Sergeant, husband, father, college graduate, licensed nurse, and highly decorated combat veteran. Upon retiring, he returned to Boys Home as the Director of Support Services for several years and is again retired and enjoying life at Smith Mountain Lake.

Bobby Trice receives the Certificate of the Purple Heart from Colonel Paul Linkenhoker.
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