In recognition of CAMP Rehoboth’s 21st anniversary, we’re continuing our Volunteer Spotlight to honor many of the behind-the-scenes heroes that we’re so fortunate to have in our CAMP family. The Spotlight is an ongoing column in Letters and features recipients who’ve been selected by the volunteers themselves and you, our readers. If you know someone whose efforts are worthy of consideration, please make a nomination. We’ll be maintaining a database that will be used to help determine future recipients. Email us your suggestions.
Tom White & Rob Freeman: Making a Home in Rehoboth Beach
On June 23 of this year, Rob and Tom celebrated twelve years as life partners. They first met at a church assembly in Gettysburg, PA. Tom was born on Cape Cod, his father’s home, but grew up in DC, his mother’s home. Rob was born and raised in Scranton, PA. Their civil union will be performed on the anniversary of their meeting, June 23, next year at the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center.
Having purchased a second home here since 1990, they soon realized that Rehoboth grows on you. When Tom retired four years ago, they decided to enjoy the life-style and fun here 24/7. They proudly proclaim, “We have no regrets!”
Today, Rob works as the Human Resource Manager at the local Polo-Ralph Lauren store. Tom is a retired, Lutheran Pastor. When asked about pets, “we’ll let you decide if Joshua, our border-collie mix, who is majorly spoiled, is a pet or a child. We have our own ideas. He does too!
When/why did you start volunteering for CAMP?
June, 2007, right after Tom retired. Becoming involved with the Rainbow Thumb Club was a natural, given our love of gardening. We wanted to make a contribution, in any way, to a stellar organization like CAMP Rehoboth. (The RTC maintains CAMP Rehoboth’s courtyard, plants and flowers and works to beautify the entire grounds at the CRCC).
What’s been your best memory volunteering here?
I (Tom) can’t remember the year, but I first met Steve Elkins at the West Side Café (approximately 20 year’s ago). He shared with me that his and Murray’s vision, at the time, was to bring the gay and straight communities together. CAMP Rehoboth (Creating A More Positive Rehoboth) has done what it said it would do, even before its inception. My best memory is of that first meeting and the desire to volunteer here, which was inspired by it. It’s exhilarating to see how the vision has become a reality.
What does CAMP Rehoboth mean to you?
Every time we go to a party, a mix of straight and gay, or to a restaurant or bar, mixed, or to a fundraiser, mixed, or to whatever in our community, mixed, we have CAMP Rehoboth to thank!
If you could spend a full day with one person, who would it be? Why?
Rob: Martha Stewart. Because of her enthusiasm for life, her organizational and time management skills, creativity, and her home and garden tips. Tom: President Barrack Obama. I’d love being an observer of the intensity, history, and excitement of a typical day in his Presidency.
“Wouldn’t you like to be a CAMPer too?” How would you encourage someone to get involved with us?
Our excitement for CAMP Rehoboth is contagious. We’ve gotten a number of friends involved. We tell them, “Dive in and make a difference. You won’t regret it.”
More self-disclosure…please give us a little known fact about you.
Rob is an avid quilter. Tom has NEVER seen Gone with the Wind or The Wizard of Oz. (Nor have I, Tom. Eric has teased me about it for years!)
First thought that comes to mind when you hear the word “Rehoboth.”
The meaning of the Old Testament name, “Rehoboth,” which translates to: big space—room for all!” CAMP Rehoboth has made our community just that.
Cher’s not the only one who’d like to turn back time. If you could, what age/period would you return too? Why?
Given our love of classical music, it would have to be the age of Bach and Beethoven.
We know you already love Rehoboth, where’s your next favorite get-away? Why?
Provincetown/Cape Cod. Tom was born and has family there. Provincetown has the same refreshing freedom as Rehoboth. For us, the Cape is a place of beauty, inspiration, serenity, and renewal.
Friends are coming over for a dinner party? What’s your signature dish?
Tom has never fried an egg in his life! Why do you think he snatched up Rob? Which means we’ll defer to Rob’s answer to this question…New England Clam Chowder.
We’ve seen many iconic entertainers over the years. Who’s your favorite? Why?
Elton John, without a doubt! He performs at his concerts from start to finish. Two hours later, he does three or four encores.
People often ask me, “What’s it like living in Rehoboth year round?” I love that question. How would you respond?
Everything in life is cyclical. We love the cycle of summer season and off-season at Rehoboth. By April you’re looking forward to the crowds, excitement, and the beautiful beach. By late August you’re looking forward to restaurant bargains, no parking meters, knowing people, and the small town atmosphere without the negatives! Probably the biggest misconception is that there’s no social life here in the winter.
Entertainment: Favorite TV show? Movie?
TV show: Desperate Housewives. Sigh…final season awaits! Most recent movie: The King’s Speech, or just about any movie at the Rehoboth Beach Film Festival.
Sustenance: Favorite food? Beverage?
Rob: gnocchi and fine wine; Tom: real roasted turkey and mocha frappes; both: Rob’s freshly baked scones.
Thank you, Tom and Rob, for all you do for CAMP Rehoboth! Your welcoming, hard-working, and genuine spirit is infectious and the community is fortunate to have you as locals.
To volunteer call 302-227-5620.