Supporting a Man of Honor

Rick Turner, resident 1965-69

After his parents underwent a painful divorce, Rick Turner came to live at Boys Home for several years. In his time here, he lived in Watkins cottage with 16 or 17 other boys. Rick doesn’t pretend that he enjoyed all of his time at Boys Home. He struggled in school, and he struggled being apart from his father and grandmother. But there were happy times too; like many young men, Rick enjoyed sports, especially baseball. One year his team went undefeated!

One memorable thing that Rick learned in his time at Boys Home was the value of good work ethic. Every day, the residents would participate in the work program, called “rack up.” The younger boys would pick up trash alongside the driveway, and the older boys would help with the mowing and landscaping on campus. The work program accomplished its goal; after leaving Boys Home, Rick was proud of his ability to work hard at a task and give it his all.

In 1986, Rick and his wife Gay moved from Texas back to Virginia.  When Gay suggested they move to Boys Home, he responded by saying “when Hell freezes over!” However, years later, he heard from a waitress at Cucci’s that Donnie Wheatley was the executive director. Having been at Boys Home with Mr. Wheatley, Rick knew him to be a man of honor and wanted to support him. He started by giving money, and later began hosting fundraisers for Boys Home in his home town of Tidewater. In 2014, Rick and Gay moved to Boys Home to teach HVAC classes as part of the Applied Trades program that Mr. Wheatley started.

As a teacher, Rick appreciates being able to work with the students on a daily basis. He does his best to show the value of learning practical skills, and to show the residents them that there is life after leaving Boys Home.

Rick Turner gets ready for his morning HVAC class
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