Judy Ford grew up in a small town where folks took care of each other, which inspired her to volunteer with the elderly. While Ford has a special place in her heart for all the seniors she spends time with, she has a unique passion for a particular group.
“I started visiting the elderly in high school and got hooked,” she said. “As I got a little older, I really focused on World War II veterans. That’s my passion.” Ford believes they saved the world from evil and are truly the greatest generation. “When they came home, they just humbly went on and made our country great,” she said.
Ford has been visiting the elderly for 30 years. For most of that time, she’s been working with Senior Services in Carmel, where the team knows about her passion and pairs her with veterans. Ford provides books, company and conversation to those she visits. For one of her friends, she brought more than 200 books from the library during a five-year span.
“They were lonely and maybe didn’t have much family, or any family, around,” Ford said. She has maintained regular visits with as many as six veterans at one time.
Ford cherishes her memories of volunteering as a chaperone for the 2015 Honor Flight. The Honor Flight took Central Indiana World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the World War II Monument. From Indiana to the district and back in a single day, Ford said she was exhausted by the end. Despite that exhaustion, Ford said she would not have traded that experience for anything.
To Ford, her volunteering is all the thanks she needs. “I never felt like I needed recognition,” she said. “But it’s nice to be recognized. As my husband said, even more so, it’s nice to be appreciated.”