Nancy Bowers has been a valued employee of the National Home for over 30 years. Not a child has come through this community without being touched on some level by her fun-loving, and educational spirit.
Nancy graduated from Michigan State University in 1987 with her degree in Animal Science and shortly after found a job advertised at the VFW National Home for Children. The Recreation
specialist post, she remembers, described a position working with children, arts and crafts, and animal husbandry. The National Home’s 4-H program had been around for a few years, and they needed someone with Nancy’s kind of background to step in and build the program. At the time, the National Home kids were showing hogs, rabbits, sheep, and goats! It wasn’t until about ten years later that the National Home decided to focus specifically on the hogs and rabbits.
“I love watching the kids learning to care for and work with something other than themselves.” Says Nancy.
“The experience they gain from working with their animals and then showing them at the fair is invaluable. First and foremost I want it to be a fun experience for them; I want them to learn to help one another, work hard and represent the National Home well.
When asked what her thoughts were on celebrating almost 31 years at the National Home, Nancy remarked “I don’t think about it much. It’s a job I love.”
She likes that her job changes throughout the year. From the beginning of March to mid-July, her focus is on 4-H. Getting the animals in, getting them assigned, teaching the kids how to work with them, care for them, train them, teaching the kids how to show them, it’s a full-time job! After the business of the 4-H season has passed, Nancy’s other contributions involve planning and scheduling field trips for the summer program, helping with after-school programs during the school year and monitoring the gymnasium during open gym, which is most evenings at the National Home.
Nancy has seen a lot of changes over the years, but the important things, she says, have remained the same, like the meaningful traditions of the Home and the contacts she has worked with at posts and auxiliaries over the years. The dedication of these men and women have made recreational opportunities like the 4-H program and annual Cedar Point and fishing trip possible.
The most important thing about the National Home, Nancy said, is the chance that it gives families to “reset,” and all of the opportunities that resident families have while living here, both parents and children.
When asked if she had a favorite memory, she giggled and without hesitation said: “Jello Slip and Slide!”
Nancy is a valued member of the National Home team and has made so many fun memories with the children who have lived here over the years. Thank you, Nancy!