Dusty grew up in Anderson, Indiana. His grandfather was a minister and Dusty began volunteering in the church at an early age. As a teen, Dusty wanted to be a youth minister. His religious “gay” experience was a struggle. He knew he was different and did not have any outlet to be himself. Homosexuality was never anything he could talk about with friends or family until college and after.
Dusty received his undergraduate degree from Huntington College, where he majored in youth ministry, and continued his master’s work at Ball State University. Dusty left Indiana to explore himself. He currently works for Delaware Technical Community College as an academic counselor. Dusty lived in South Carolina, New York, Georgia, and Pennsylvania before moving to Rehoboth in 2015.
For fun, he has travelled to Jamaica five times for missionary work, and three years ago, he traveled to Greece. Dusty met his partner, Joe Smith, online, and they talked sporadically beginning in 2007. In 2014, Dusty met Joe and visited Rehoboth for the first time. Dusty moved to Rehoboth the following year and they bought their home in the Rehoboth Beach Yacht and Country Club.
How did you find out about CAMP Rehoboth?
My partner Joe was a member and I found out through him.
What volunteering have you done with CAMP Rehoboth?
I have volunteered for the past three or four years with CAMP Rehoboth. I served on the volunteer opportunities committee and volunteered at Sundance as well as at volunteer appreciation meetings.
What brings you joy?
I love spending time with friends, going to Diego’s and to Aqua. I love watching movies and listening to music, mostly from the 90s…. Sunshine, warm weather, and our two rescue cats, Teta and Coco, also bring me great joy.
What is your favorite CAMP Rehoboth event?
I enjoy going to CAMP Rehoboth concerts such as the Washington DC men’s chorus and CAMP chorus concerts.
Name a childhood mentor or someone who influenced you?
The Dean of Students (Norrie) in college influenced my life. We became close and talked about LGBTQ issues as well as casual topics. Norrie allowed me to think about homosexuality and didn’t view it as incompatible to my faith. Due to our friendship, I was able to accept who I was, though it still took several years more to come out of the closet. “Tuesdays with Norrie” was a group of about 10 guys who met weekly for lunch and talked about important issues, or nothing important at all. The meetings were very special and influenced how I saw myself.
After COVID what is one of the first things you are looking forward to doing?
I cannot wait to go to a movie theater and see a summer blockbuster. I am not anti-mask, but it will be nice to walk around, run, and go to the gym without a mask.
Since coming to Rehoboth, what is one of the biggest changes you have seen?
I have noticed since I moved here that there has been a shift towards visual diversity. I believe Rehoboth’s racial and cultural diversity has increased thanks to CAMP Rehoboth’s welcoming mission.
What is your fondest memory of Rehoboth?
My partner is the president of a social group called “Black Tie International.” There were two events per year and monthly happy hours, pre-COVID. There was dancing, dinner, and over 100 men. We would have our events at different venues in the area. It was always an amazing and memorable time.
Name something about CAMP Rehoboth that stands out as a good memory.
My fondest memory was my time with Steve Elkins. He was like a mentor to me. I remember (in the last year of his life), Steve and I sat on CAMP Rehoboth’s front porch rocking and talking. It was a cherished and amazing memory of mine. Steve’s passion was a big draw for me to come to CAMP Rehoboth and the reason I want to contribute more to Rehoboth’s LGBTQ community. ▼
Karen Laitman is a member of CAMP Rehoboth’s Volunteer Development Committee.