The Villages Voice - December 2019

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The VHA Changing of the Guard

by Jan Palmer


by Jan Palmer

In December each year The VHA holds its annual general membership meeting to report on the past year’s accomplishments and elect new board members as well as conduct any other necessary business.  It’s informative, interesting, and an essential time to keep our membership apprised of what is going on within the organization on their behalf, as well as all Villages residents.  Fred Briggs, the current president, is completing his term in office and Phil Walker, who has served in many capacities over his years with The VHA, has some big shoes to fill as he takes over in January.  We will miss Fred reminding his various audiences that he is now “in the fifth year of his one-year term as president of The VHA.”  Fred has not just devoted five years of his retirement years to The VHA and its volunteers and members;  he has worked tirelessly and put in hours of hard work to grow the organization, maintain the many working relationships we have with community leaders, participate and reside over a variety of vital committees and boards, oversee  the key functions and programs of The VHA, and navigate the waters of change and innovation, all while being hands-on by helping out in practical ways.  Fred’s personal philosophy about The Villages is a reflection of the underlying purpose of The VHA: “We’ve been provided with the premier retirement community in the country and it is and will be our responsibility to maintain and nurture the opportunity we’ve been given to maintain it.”  It has been a privilege to work alongside a man who puts his sense of responsibility into action, knowing that while those who live here are indeed blessed, we are also tasked with doing our part in “Keeping the Dream Alive.” We want to express our sincere appreciation for all Fred’s efforts, and to Peggy, his wife, for her patience.  We all know that The VHA is in Fred’s DNA now, so while he may be stepping down as President, he will continue to be an important part of our organization. Every year The VHA hosts “An Evening with the Developer” featuring Mark Morse.  The VHA’s philosophy has always been to work with leaders and those who have a direct impact on our community.  Building bridges, addressing concerns respectfully, and mutually listening and working together to manage resident concerns has created a relationship that is beneficial to our membership and The Villages at large.  We won’t always be able to resolve an issue to everyone’s satisfaction, but it is a tribute to Fred and The VHA that we have the respect we need, and an open door, to talk to those in authority.  It doesn’t matter if it is speaking in front of a crowd at New Resident Nights, or just helping out collecting entrance fees for the newly inaugurated Community Foundation quarterly bingo nights, Fred has been there, doing whatever is needed to keep The VHA on its toes by being an example of dedication and commitment to a cause he firmly believes in.  Volunteers are the lifeblood of The VHA.  Every single board member, neighbor-hood representative, Hoe-down volunteer, Helping Hands delivery person, and our officers, including the President; all are unpaid residents of The Villages who are giving back to this unique community we are happy to call “home.”  Many of our volunteers have served for many years, while others are just getting their feet wet by stepping up to the plate.  READ FRED’S FINAL “MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT” on Page 2, and JOIN US at the Annual General Membership Meeting on December 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Lake Miona Regional Recreation Center.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m.  This is a VHA Member-Only Event, with an opportunity to join at the door that evening.  Membership options are:  2-year membership for $25, or lifetime membership for $100.