Shenandoah Valley for Active Adults

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When Bruce and Linda Arnold first moved to the Shenandoah Valley, they thought they were experiencing a case of mistaken identity. “Everyone kept waving at us. We thought that they were mistaking our truck for someone else’s,” says Bruce. “We finally figured out that is just the way people are around here.”

After over 25 years living and working in the D.C. area, the Arnolds had decided that their ideal retirement included a house on the river, a mountain view, and a lot less traffic. Before retiring, Bruce served as the Technical Director for the Navy Regional Computer Facility. He was responsible for installing communication systems on a world-wide basis.

Some of his more fascinating assignments included the creation of an information management system for the White House situation room in the mid-70s and the installation of a computer-operated communications system for sailors during the Vietnam War. Of the project, he notes, “In the South Pacific, you face a lot of difficulties trying to receive messages in a timely fashion. We had sailors working 12 hour shifts seven days a week, which was a terrible use of human resources. The computer was able to respond more efficiently, and the benefits were obvious.”

After retiring from the government, Bruce spent two more years in private industry. During this time, the couple began their gradual transition to life in the Shenandoah Valley. Linda, a Registered Nurse, who is also a talented designer, supervised work on their new home while Bruce remained in Northern Virginia during the week. She was able to take her time designing and building the house, so that nothing was done abruptly.

Sitting on a slope overlooking the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, the home quickly became the Arnold’s permanent getaway. “Every morning when we are having breakfast, I look down at the river and across at the Blue Ridge Mountains almost touching the river,” says Bruce.

Although just watching the river rumble along may be a tempting past time, the Arnolds continue to work nearly full-time. They have simply shifted their focus to improving their new community. Delivering meals for Food for Friends, a program that provides hot meals to homebound individuals in the Valley, is one of the couple’s many volunteer activities.

As the Chairman of the Board for the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging, Bruce has dedicated himself to serving the needs of the Valley’s senior population. He points out, “The agency operates two Alzheimer’s respite sites and seven senior centers, which serve congregate meals as well as deliver Meals on Wheels. All of these provide valuable services to individuals who really need assistance.” Additionally, he served as President of the local AARP chapter, which is comprised of other exceptionally active individuals like himself. “At our AARP meeting, we collect the total number of volunteer hours from the small group. They frequently total as many as 400 hours a month,” Bruce recalls.

He concludes, “The spirit of volunteerism is very much alive in this community.” It is this community atmosphere that has made the Shenandoah Valley the perfect retirement destination for the energetic Arnolds. Now, when someone in a passing car throws up their hand, the Arnolds simply smile and wave back.

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