Peace Corps Celebrates Fathers Day and Honors Legacies of Volunteerism
In 1966, Father's Day was assigned the third Sunday of June by President Lyndon B. Johnson and in 1972, it was established as a permanent holiday in the U.S. by President Richard Nixon. Today, there are over 64 million fathers across the nation, some of whom have served as an inspiration through their service in the Peace Corps.
At the age of 63, Ben S. Beall IV, and his wife Millie, began their Peace Corps service in Bolivia in August of last year. An adventurous couple, the Bealls were married in Ecuador on the rim of a volcano and longed to live a life of travel, but instead chose to settle in Steamboat Springs, Colo., to raise their two sons. Beall now serves as a community agricultural extension Peace Corps Volunteer in Totora, Cochabamba, Bolivia, where part of his work includes beekeeping.
Both Beall sons recently took a three week trip to Bolivia, spending one full week at their parents' site, even learning how to keep bees with their father. Though he finds that some people are surprised at his father's adventure at an older age, Bealls son Ben was not surprised. "I think that it's a very powerful thing that they're doing, and I'm really proud of them for wanting to do that instead of maybe finding a golf course." Beall's youngest son, Rodney Beall, said, "My father leads by example, and is happy to have me alongside. Hes my number one role model, and also hes just a really nice guy."
Anjelica Cox-Vasquez, a recently Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Costa Rica from 2005-2007, says that her father, a former Peace Corps Volunteer, inspired her to join the Peace Corps. "My dad was a Volunteer in Ecuador, so I always wanted to go into the Peace Corps. I would always ask him about his experience. He was one of the first groups that went to Ecuador, so he had a different experience. My dad always tells me, "You're doing so much." He did a lot of things, too, as a Volunteer, he's just modest."
Nicole Nakama is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana who followed unwittingly in her father's footsteps. Her father, Leebrick Nakama, was a Peace Corps education Volunteer in Ghana from 1974-1976. A quiet role model, Leebrick says the idea of serving in the Peace Corps was never pushed. "At home we have a picture of me when I was in the Peace Corps ages ago, and thats all," he said. Says the senior Nakama about the Peace Corps, "I hope more people will do something like this. It's a real adventure." Says Nicole about her father, " I always noticed how conservative my dad is about saving electricity, and how he is always willing to help people—maybe inspiration came from that." About her country of service, Nicole says, "I am lucky though, Botswana has its luxuries, such as electricity and treated water."
The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.
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