By ROBERT LACOSTA
In Part I of this column, which ran in the March issue of Senior Spotlight, we learned that 66-year-old Fred Sumter’s background prepared him for the harsh realities that he faces in the eyes of angry and hurt young men at the New York State detention center, where he works as a Youth Development aide.
“Refinement.” It can come with age.
The compassion and skill set that Fred Sumter carried into detention work for the past two decades have distilled into a clarity that only serves to elevate his expectancy for his retirement years.
“I’m looking ahead,” he says. “I have more years behind me than ahead of me, so I don’t have time to look what I haven’t achieved. God has given me health, resources, relationships and experiences that can propel me toward the future, to do God’s will and to have a quality of life physically.”
A good part of what speeds him past a retirement of leisure is his experience from the military and mission trips.
“People can’t fully understand from the comfort of their living rooms watching on flat screens the suffering of these lands,” he said. “It’s when you have your boots on the ground that you see the stark difference between American society and no running water.”
Working within the correctional system has only reinforced his desire to serve as a senior.
“The difference between full-time work and retirement is the luxury of zeroing in on helping on my terms both in task and time,” he said.
Robert J. LaCosta writes a daily blog. Write him at [email protected] or call (518) 435-1250. The author is a Hearing Instrument Specialist and has worked with seniors through four decades.