In 1959, Donnie Wheatley arrived at Boys Home, twelve years old and a ward of the state. At first, his discontentment with Boys Home and his desire to return to his family led to several attempts to run away. Once Donnie decided to give Boys Home a try, he participated in sports, student government and campus jobs.
When encouraged by staff, Donnie entered Virginia Military Institute in 1966 on a State Cadetship, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. After working on a Master of Science degree from Virginia Tech, Wheatley spent three years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps, attaining the rank of Captain. With a Master’s in Business Administration from Valdosta State College in Georgia and courses toward a Master’s in Education at Georgia State University, he enjoyed success and respect in his early career as a professional engineer.
In 1985, Wheatley returned to Boys Home as Executive Director. During his tenure new buildings have been constructed, major renovations completed and new programs added—all in service to improving better opportunities for at-risk children and to ensure that no child is turned away due to his family’s inability to pay.
Donnie’s willingness to share his faith and vulnerability has enabled hundreds of young men to break cycles of despair and neglect to become productive citizens and emotionally healthy husbands and fathers.