Nan Flesher and Joie Rake
Native central Pennsylvanians, Joie and Nan first met in 1977, while Nan was coaching Joie’s daughters in softball. They have been a couple for 32 years, having moved in together in 1983.
Nan grew up in Berwick and taught health and physical education in Joie’s hometown of South Williamsport for 18 years. She later became the Director of Admissions for the York campus of Penn State, where she worked for 20 years, and today is employed at Pivot Physical Therapy here in Rehoboth.
Joie worked most of her career as a RN in mental health, hospice, home health, and other specialties. She has been employed by Planned Parenthood of Delaware since 2006.
The couple started vacationing in Rehoboth in 1983 and moved here in 2005. Joie and Nan were married in California in 2008. They have two grandsons and a granddaughter.
When did you start volunteering at CAMP Rehoboth and what events or activities have you been involved with since?
Nan: Believe it or not, our first volunteer effort was stuffing condoms! We have volunteered for the Sundance Auction, Sundance 5K, the recent 25th Anniversary Silver Gala and Block Party, the Library Book Sale, and many activities with CROP (CAMP Rehoboth Outreach Program). We are also on the Leadership Committee for CROP.
Joie: Since Nan works every morning, I get to do things like stuffing letters for mailings, etc. I also did Hepatitis shots for two years with (CAMP Rehoboth’s Health Program Director) Sal Seeley.
What’s your best memory volunteering here?
Definitely the Block Party for the 25th Anniversary!
Of the many events held by CAMP Rehoboth in our 25 years, which is your favorite and why?
Has to be the Block Party. It was so exciting to see folks from all backgrounds having a wonderful time together dancing, singing, and enjoying the great entertainment and food.
Celebrating a quarter century as a local LGBT non-profit, please tell us about a special anniversary you’ve celebrated over the last 25 years.
We celebrated our 30th anniversary cruising on the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis to Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.
Favorite season here at the beach and why?
We both love Fall the best. It is so pretty, the crowds are gone (except weekends), the beach is quiet and peaceful, and downtown is fun again.
If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do?
Probably read or ride bikes.
Favorite U.S. city and why?
San Francisco is our favorite city for the seascape, people, and food. We want to go back and spend more time there.
Night owl or early riser and why?
We are definitely early risers. We like to get work done in the morning and enjoy the afternoon. Most folks know not to call us after 9 p.m.!
Best year of your life and why?
It would have to be 1983 when we moved in together. We have always said that it doesn’t matter where we live or how much money we have as long as we are together.
Favorite holiday and why?
Christmas—the decorations, people smiling, spending time with family and friends, and all the activities around the holidays.
The LGBT community has made significant progress in the fight for equality over recent years. Did you expect to see this in your lifetime and why or why not?
The progress we have made in the last few years has been astounding. Being able to live openly as a lesbian couple wasn’t exactly a surprise when we moved to Rehoboth in 2005. But being able to marry with the same benefits, rights, and responsibilities as heterosexuals is still a bit unbelievable.
Name the biggest change you’ve seen in Rehoboth and how long have you been coming here?
We started vacationing here in 1983. One year we put a cabana (open in front) on the beach. The lifeguard called the police who made us take it down because they “couldn’t see what was going on” from the boardwalk. The work Steve and Murray have done has certainly made a difference in the attitude of the police and other city officials.
Name three events that have shaped your life to where it is today.
Meeting each other, moving to Rehoboth, and being able to travel.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
We love to travel and have been on five cruises, spent a week on most of the Caribbean islands, and have visited over 20 states. Our daughters, granddaughter, and one grandson now live in Florida so that is our prime destination. We want to visit the Galapagos Islands sometime.
What are you most thankful for?
Nan: I am thankful every day for being able to spend the last 32 years with Joie.
Joie: Back at’cha, Nan! And I hope we have many more years together.
My favorite reply was your last one. How wonderful it is to see such love between two people. We’re so blessed that you’ve shared that love, and yourselves, so frequently here at CAMP Rehoboth. On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors, our sincere thanks for your continued volunteer support.