MILTON, Fla. (WEAR) — He had two very full and adventurous careers. When he retired from the "workplace", he found he had a little time on his hands so he got busy again. Sue Straughn tells us how an Angel In Our Midst fills his days.
"Two walks - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. And then, whenever I can get out there and play some golf, I'll do that." That's how Ray Bonomo keeps himself fine-tuned for his active days.
Ray is quite a character known around Milton for his giving spirit. It helps to know his humble beginnings to understand his compassion for others today. He remembers back to the crash of '29; "Well, just the rich people got messed up with that but, in the early 30's, then it hit us. Nobody could get a job and my father was an immigrant from Italy."
He sold fish from his uncles' boat door-to-door and then served as a navigator in World War II - going from the enlisted ranks to retire as an officer. Ray then had a career as a carpenter.
After that retirement, he sought out a new purpose. That's when Retired Senior Volunteer program director Faye Henry met him; "When he got about 89 years old, he decided he wanted to volunteer. He starts coming in here and volunteering. He was working with the American Red Cross and helping out with the Relay for Life programs. He was doing our senior expos and just about anything we'd ask him to do."
And anything that Ray sees that needs doing. He gets people to their doctor's appointments, takes them on outings, makes pickups and deliveries. Faye recalls one special lady he visited, "We had a lady that was on her death bed and he would go play cards with her and just visit with her where she didn't feel lonely."
Ray says it's just what he does, "Oh, yeah. I'm willing to help anybody, yeah, if I can."
Sometimes it's just a matter of inspiring someone with a story, a smile, a good time. Faye believes it's just in his nature, "He just loves people. He loves being active. He goes to dances and he will outdance people half his age."
If you do the math, Ray says that would be someone who's 50 years old. "I was born 1919." That's right, March 12th, 1919. Ray Bonomo is celebrating 100 years by being a gift to others.
Faye believes a "gift" is exactly what Ray is, "He makes everybody around him happy. And I think he gets a lot of pleasure out of that."
Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by Anderson Subaru.