Jerry grew up in Boston but, has lived in a great many places in the United States. After graduating from Boston’s Suffolk University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Education, he was off to Detroit where he earned his Master’s in Biology from Wayne State University. Ever the student, Jerry continued his education, receiving his PhD in Biology and Ecology from Wayne State University.
He spent about six years on the road as an academic teacher and researcher, and as an environmental and public health consultant (Michigan, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Georgia, Illinois, and Las Vegas, Nevada [no he wasn’t a dancer!). He taught at the Johns Hopkins School of Engineering (adjunct), Baltimore, Maryland; Alma College, Alma, Michigan; Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan; and Hull High School, Hull, Massachusetts.
Finally, in 1986 Jerry decided to stop traveling and landed in Northern, Virginia working as a consultant until 1992 when he went to work at the Environmental Protection Agency. Jerry moved to Washington, DC in 2005, and continued working for the EPA until his retirement in 2015.
After retiring from the EPA in 2015, Jerry made the move to Rehoboth Beach. His hobbies are traveling (four continents, 16 countries, and 48 states), and playing the Celtic Harp. However, to quote Jerry, “It’s a matter of opinion whether or not I play, but there is one sitting in my living room haunting me for practice time!” He also works with the Greyhound Senior Sanctuary in Lewes, and has just finished a first round as a foster for an eight year old greyhound named Mimosa who was adopted by a Kansas family.
When did you start volunteering at CAMP Rehoboth?
I started volunteering as an HIV Testing Counselor in the fall of 2015.
What events/activities have you been involved with as a volunteer?
I haven’t been involved with a lot of events yet! I have been volunteering my time testing at CAMP Rehoboth as well as at Burton Village, and at Immanuel Shelter.
What’s your best memory volunteering here?
My best memory is the people. Everyone I’ve met while volunteering is engaging, very helpful, and enthusiastic.
Of the many events held by CAMP Rehoboth, which is your favorite and why?
It would have to be Sundance. Sundance 2016 was fun and amazing— how did they do that? Turning an almost abandoned shopping mall into a dance palace! Unbelievable.
Favorite season here at the beach and why?
I would definitely say fall—the weather is still great, and the water is warm through October. It’s quiet—but just busy enough, and the smiles come back to the locals faces.
Name a childhood mentor or someone who influenced you while growing up.
I know it sounds corny, but Mom and Dad! Dad showed us the value of hard work, and playing as hard as you work. Mom was a feminist ahead of her time— smart, analytical, goal-oriented, a take no BS person! If there was justice in the world in 1960 Mom would have been a State Street lawyer, and Dad would have been a stay-at-home dad.
If you had an extra hour in the day what would you do?
My extra hour would be spent reading!
Favorite U.S. city and why?
Unfair!! I’ve lived so many great places including Washington, DC (you just can’t run out of things to do, and interesting people to meet); Chicago (“City of broad shoulders…Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.”); Detroit—it’s where I came of age—Say nice things about Detroit.
Night owl or early riser?
I’m definitely a night owl. I don’t get my energy until 4 p.m.—that’s when I start doing projects.
Best year of your life and why?
Every new one gets better. However, 1973 when I moved to Detroit and began my coming-out process, 1993 when I met the love of my life, and 2015 when I retired, all measure up.
Favorite holiday and why?
My favorite(s) are Samhain / Christmas / Hanukkah. I love the idea of returning to the light and the beginning of a new year.
How long have you been coming to Rehoboth?
I have been coming to Rehoboth for 25 years. I became a full time Rehoboth resident in the fall of 2015.
Since you began coming to Rehoboth, name the biggest change you’ve seen.
I think the biggest change is the amount of people! It is so much more crowded, even in the winter. It used to be that there was hardly anything open in the winter (nothing to do). Now, we have the outlets and restaurants—there are so many great restaurants that stay open all year.
Name three events that have shaped your life to where it is today.
First, moving to Detroit and getting out of parochial Boston to get a new start and begin my coming out process while finding a fun and interesting career. Second, the emergence of AIDS—the huge losses and how it galvanized us as an LGBTQ community. Third, living out—I was beyond fortunate to meet my BFF, Peter Pizzolongo when I started a new job, and he showed me that living an open and honest life was the way to a happy life; “May those that love me, love me; for those that don’t love me may God turn their hearts; and if He can’t turn their hearts may He turn their ankles so I’ll know them coming from their limp!”
Describe an ideal date night.
My ideal date would be food, entertainment, affection! As the dating continues, affection may replace entertainment proportionately. Under no circumstances should food be omitted.
What are you most thankful for?
I am most thankful for my loving family of blood and affinity.
Jerry, thank you for the work you do for CAMP Rehoboth. All of us at CAMP Rehoboth are so very grateful for your support. We enjoy having volunteers like you as part of “the team.” Going forward, we hope you will continue to be a part of CAMP Rehoboth.