“The possibilities are unlimited for volunteering at Garden Spot Village. Volunteering provides an opportunity for me to stay active and engaged,” says Bob Collins, a Garden Spot Village resident since November 2016.
Bob says he got his first volunteer metalworking job the summer after 2nd grade. He and his family lived in downtown Reading and one of his neighbors had a broken chain on her bike. Inspired by his older brother’s expertise in metalworking, Bob fixed the bike. From that moment he was hooked.
At age 10 he rebuilt his first engine with his brother. He spent summers and weekends learning automotive mechanics from his brother. The two continued to fix cars and build custom cars and bodies in their spare time for the next thirty years.
A machinist and millwright for many years, Bob has experience in a variety of trades. Because of an injury, he took early retirement from the factory where he worked for 32 years. He headed back to school and earned his HVAC certification. He also partnered with a friend to build a 22-home subdivision and served as the department manager for lumber and millwork when Lowe’s opened in Sinking Spring.
When Bob and his wife, Bernie, moved to Garden Spot Village, Bob brought a buzz box welder and some other small tools. He quickly realized he did not have space in his new garage to weld so he led an initiative to start a metal shop.
The creativity and problem solving involved in the art of metal working, inspire Bob. He thrives on projects like designing building brackets for the dropdown lights in the new meeting spaces, The Forge and The Foundry. He also helps to repair items for the maintenance department and builds coat hangers, hat holders and signs out of golf clubs and other recycled metal for the Fall Festival and to sell during the Train Room Open Houses.
In addition to leading the Metal Shop, Bob also serves on the Wood Shop Committee. He loves to teach children about woodworking and metal working and helps to lead projects when the New Holland Elementary Wood Working Club visits the Wood Shop.
Bob drives the shuttle once a month to Yoder’s Country Market and serves as a substitute driver for the shuttle to Shady Maple Farm Market. He also helps provide wheelchair transport for special events in the chapel. He and Bernie serve as volunteers for Look & Learn and give private tours as well as open their home for visitors to tour.
Over the course of two years, Bob and Bernie explored six different retirement communities before deciding that Garden Spot was the best fit. Bob says, “We loved the grounds and the gardens, as well as the wellness department and the opportunities to volunteer.”