July 20, 2005: Headlines: COS - Lesotho: Older Volunteers: Married Couples: Salem Statesman Journal: For Tom Vandegrift, 62, and his wife, Amy, 58, the Peace Corps was a lifelong dream

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Lesotho: Peace Corps Lesotho : The Peace Corps in Lesotho: July 20, 2005: Headlines: COS - Lesotho: Older Volunteers: Married Couples: Salem Statesman Journal: For Tom Vandegrift, 62, and his wife, Amy, 58, the Peace Corps was a lifelong dream

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-23-45.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.23.45) on Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 9:37 pm: Edit Post

For Tom Vandegrift, 62, and his wife, Amy, 58, the Peace Corps was a lifelong dream

For Tom Vandegrift, 62, and his wife, Amy, 58, the Peace Corps was a lifelong dream

Tom applied to Peace Corps when he was in his twenties, but at the time, the group had so many volunteers that it was mailing out post cards asking people if they wanted to withdraw their applications. Tom withdrew his and started a career in the insurance industry. When he retired, the couple quickly began to think about applying to the Peace Corps again.

For Tom Vandegrift, 62, and his wife, Amy, 58, the Peace Corps was a lifelong dream

WWII veteran is set to share passion about Peace Corps

He will speak about the group during a forum Thursday

BY TIMOTHY A. AKIMOFF
Statesman Journal

July 20, 2005

[Excerpt]

For Tom Vandegrift, 62, and his wife, Amy, 58, both of Salem, the Peace Corps was a lifelong dream. Tom applied to Peace Corps when he was in his twenties, but at the time, the group had so many volunteers that it was mailing out post cards asking people if they wanted to withdraw their applications. Tom withdrew his and started a career in the insurance industry.

When he retired, the couple quickly began to think about applying to the Peace Corps again.

The Vandegrifts studied language briefly and were assigned to Lesotho, a tiny kingdom in South Africa.

What struck Tom and Amy immediately was how closely Peace Corps workers are tied to the people they are sent to work with.

"In Peace Corps, you go into a village and live with the people," Amy Vandegrift said. "You are in the community and not just coming for a visit."

While in Lesotho, Tom taught business classes when not performing the agricultural duties to which he was assigned. He also helped villagers build a solar oven out of cardboard and potato-chip wrappers.

"First time I tested it out, I did cartwheels," Tom Vandegrift said. "Everyone came over for slices of fresh bread that actually had a crust."

And Amy taught the women of the village how to embroider the complex images and designs that adorned their huts onto pillows.

Although they were older volunteers, age always was a relative thing for the Vandegrifts.

"While we were in Lesotho, the oldest volunteers were 72. The oldest volunteer in Peace Corps was 86," Tom Vandegrift said.





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Story Source: Salem Statesman Journal

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Lesotho; Older Volunteers; Married Couples

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