Staying Active with Pool Volleyball: Active Adult in CCRC’s

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grandfather in CCRCMajor David Chewning modestly admits that his life experiences have been extraordinary, “I did have an exotic life, but that is characteristic of individuals who have served in the military and done the type of economic development work I did.” During WWII, Major Chewning served in the Army Air Corp; he was later recalled to active duty with the Air Force during the Korean War. After returning from Korea, Chewning worked as a special assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Defense.

Following this appointment, Major Chewning moved to Burma, where he lived and worked for several years as an economic advisor to several large, government corporations. Of Burma, Chewning relates, “Burma was an exceptionally unique place with a very distinctive culture and interesting people, who I really enjoyed.”

In addition to his experience in Burma, Major Chewning has also held appointments in the U.S. Deep South, Alaska, Nigeria, Micronesia, France, Puerto Rico, and Greenland. When he returned to the U.S., Chewning co-founded and operated a non-profit corporation called the National Rural Center, which worked to give visibility to non-agricultural businesses and institutions in rural areas. He worked with the organization until he retired.

After his wife passed away, Major Chewning intended to continue to live in the spacious house the couple had built near Fredericksburg. However, he soon discovered that living alone offered few benefits. “It was no fun living in a 10 room house all by myself, with my children 60 miles away in the Washington area,” says Chewning.

Once he began considering moving to a retirement community, his first thought was not of Vinson Hall, a continuing care retirement community for retired military personnel located in McLean. Chewning explains, “I was familiar with Vinson Hall for many years. I just didn’t think I was eligible because I thought they accepted only retired Navy. I looked at a lot of other places and nothing seemed to fit. My friend who was looking with me finally suggested we go to Vinson Hall to get more information. When I discovered I was eligible, I was thrilled.”

For Major Chewning, one of the most rewarding things about life at Vinson Hall has been the camaraderie among the residents: “I really enjoy the atmosphere here. When you come in, you walk into a place that is a community–rather than just a place where people live. Our military backgrounds give us all a common thread. It’s incredible to sit down to dinner and hear stories and share experiences from allover the world.”

Chewning has been active in the community since moving in five years ago. He recently finished a four-year tenure as the treasurer for the Resident Association. He is also involved in a poker night, and he was instrumental in lobbying for the new indoor pool and fitness center at the community.

You can often find Major Chewning in the pool playing pool volleyball. Of his newfound hobby, he jokes, “People thought our personal trainer was crazy at first when he mentioned getting people in their 80s and 90s to play pool volleyball, but it has become one of the most popular activities on campus.” Chewning concludes, “It is actually great fun and good exercise too. The fitness program has made a major difference in my life-keeping active really keeps me young.”

In fact, the pool volleyball program at Vinson Hall has been so successful that there are plans to expand it. Steve Rohrback, the Fitness Director at Vinson Hall, explains, “We have an organized team, and we would like to challenge other area retirement communities to a friendly game of pool volleyball. We eventually hope to establish an intramural league!”

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