Bingo Bob a.k.a. Robert Ford has been calling BINGO for us since April of 2007. It started because I needed a BINGO caller for our Brooklyn Park center and put a call out to the Brooklyn Park Senior Center hoping someone there might take me up on my request. Two weeks later Bob called and said that he would be very interested in helping us. It has been one wonderful B 6 and G 75 ever since.
Bob comes faithfully the third Monday of each month. He chats with everyone, calls multiple BINGO games and makes everyone smile. Early in our relationship Bob recognized that the BINGO game set that we were using was not of a very high quality so he went back to the Brooklyn Park senior center and asked them to donate a BINGO set that was not being used. Now we roll with the professionals. There are usually thirty players huddled around listening to Bob call the numbers, hoping this is their lucky day. They look forward to his visit, not just because of the possibility of winning a prize but more the opportunity for his friendship. Bob also recruits prizes for the players from his friends at the senior center or he will sometimes buy them himself.
I spent some time with him recently and asked him to tell me more about himself and how he became our BINGO man. Bob shared with me that originally he was from the State of New York. He dropped out of high school to join the US Navy when he was just seventeen. His company out of boot camp numbered seventy eight and he is one of five who returned after WWII. He proudly wears his Navy baseball hat and is humble when he talks about his service experience. Trained as a baker and cook, Bob served in the Navy for twenty one years. He not only served our country during WWII but also the Korean War and the Vietnam War. His sea going travels took him all over the world but his wife was from Minnesota so he found himself here when he mustered out. He went on to cook at the Veterans Hospital for an additional ten years before retiring from service all together.
I asked Bob if he continued to work after the Veteran’s hospital and he said,
“Oh yes, I worked at Byerlys and other places.” Now my head was spinning and I had to ask, “If you don’t mind telling me, how old are you Bob?” He smiled and said, “I am eighty two. My age isn’t on a BINGO card, it only goes up to seventy five!”
I also asked why he responded to my request and he told me that his wife has passed away, he has no children, and he just likes to have things to do.
“They always greet me right at the door here and they ask me how I am and I like seeing everybody and their smiles and maybe BINGO helps them with numbers.” “Everyone here is so happy, it takes so little. If they win a pencil they are happy, if they don’t win they are happy that they got to play.”
Bob says, “As long as I can move, I will be here. I like it here.” Thank you Bob for sharing your time with us, we love having your company. We are definitely the big winners because we found you.
There are lots of other volunteer opportunities waiting at Lifeworks. How about you? Could you share some time with us once a week or once a month. Please call Kath Pengelly at 651-365-3720. BINGO!