People in The Villages come from all over the country and from many other countries. Villages Style is happy to introduce six people who now call The Villages their home.
Photo: Fred Lopez
The phrase “better with age” certainly applies to archer John Horwath, even at age 95. In June, John set a record in his age group at the National Senior Games in Alabama, totaling 1,566 points of a possible 1,800 in target shooting. He shattered the previous mark by 477 points and now holds three national records. He also holds five state records and earned Male Athlete of the Year honors at the 2016 Florida Senior Games. John learned with a straight bow in the 1950s in Michigan. Today, he uses a physically demanding 40-pound compound bow. “It’s something I have loved all my life,” he says. “And I don’t go just to shoot. I go to shoot to try to beat records. And that takes determination.” Born and raised on a farm, John uses a barn analogy as advice to young archers. “If you shoot at the keyhole in the lock on the barn door, you may be lucky enough to hit the barn,” he says.
Photo: Fred Lopez
Susie Hu Ingerick
As communists took over China in 1949, educator Hu Fu-Cheng led his family to Taiwan, where he raised six children to be independent and contributors to society. Decades later, daughter Susie Hu Ingerick still lives by those values. “I do my best to help people,” she says. “My goal is to help people.” Susie is president of the new Chinese Social Club, appealing to what she describes as a fairly large Chinese population in The Villages. She has worked as a translator in the community and sometimes introduces other Villagers to traditional Chinese philosophy and values. “I take it as something I ought to do and I’m proud to do that,” Susie says. After 10 years in Taiwan, Susie came to the United States, became a biochemistry technician, and married. She and her husband later owned several businesses. Today, Susie says she and her family have everything they could want. “I appreciate this country, too,” Susie says. “Only in this country, if you’re willing to work, you will be successful.”
Photo: Fred Lopez
Since arriving in The Villages in 2008, Petrina has been a one-woman British Invasion. The English singer performs multimedia shows in many personas, most notably as Pink, for social clubs and private parties. Charity events inspired her to pursue a cause of her own, iSparkle, an anti-bullying program. iSparkle stands for inclusion, support, protect, act, respect, kindness, lift spirits, and encourage. “Throughout my years of working here, I was always asked to give my time to charity, which I did, as most performers probably do and should do,” Petrina says. “So, I thought why not create something that I feel more passionate about and something that is needed.” Along with friend Jane Bloom, she created a scholarship awarded to any qualified U.S. high school senior related to a Villages homeowner (see petrina.biz/iSparkle.html). They raise money through sports tournaments and talent shows, and Petrina donates a portion of her ticket sales. “In time, I’d like to offer programs not just for children but adults, too, on how to deal with bullying and what we can do about it,” Petrina says. “We all sit in silence because no one knows how to deal with these things. There is help out there, but it’s something I’m learning on the way, too.”
Photo: Fred Lopez
“Book” Booker is a self-described “country boy” from Virginia who has lived in big cities all over the U.S. When he moved in 2012 to The Villages, he was looking for a place where he could make friends when he got a tip about the African-American Club. Five years later, he’s the leader of the 300-member club. “It’s a social club, No. 1. We hold lots of events, and we promote goodwill and friendship. That’s what I like about the club,” Book says. “You meet new people coming in to The Villages, and it’s excellent for getting to know folks.” The club also has awarded six $1,000 scholarships to underprivileged tri-county students each of the past two years, in tandem with the Sophisticated Gents of Florida, another social club primarily for African-Americans. Both clubs are open to anyone, however. Book immerses himself in the community through scuba diving, travel, and Segway clubs. He believes clubs are important to help Villagers connect. “The things we tend to like as individuals, we find a club that pertains to that enjoyment and we join up,” he says. “You like to meet people who share similar backgrounds. That helps us survive in the community and in general.”
Many people want to kick back in retirement, but canoeing and pickleball just didn’t cut it for Joe Elliott. “There was something significant missing in the activities I was involved in,” he says. Instead, he decided to attend Villages community development district board meetings and learned all he could about how the Villages administration works. These endeavors reawakened experiences he had while working at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and interacting with government leaders and agencies. Joe became a CDD supervisor and discovered parallels between his former industry and local government, with the common denominator being people. He enjoyed talking to residents and doing background work to understand issues. “It was a reservoir that resonated with me. It was a perfect match,” he says. Then he ratcheted up his activities another notch. After he and Barbara, his wife of 48 years, moved to Antrim Dells Villas in Wildwood, Joe successfully campaigned for a four-year term on the City Commission. It’s a demanding job but one he loves. “If you’re serious about yourself, if you’re serious about life and the community you live in, you really ought to give serious consideration to contributing to that community, including running for office,” he says.
Health Insurance Advocate
Making a positive difference in a person’s life is Betty Cunningham’s expressed goal. As a volunteer since 2003 for SHINE, or Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, Betty has made a positive difference in the lives of literally thousands of people. She serves as SHINE area coordinator in Lake and Sumter counties and The Villages, overseeing volunteers and helping residents understand Medicare through community presentations. “I enjoy speaking to groups about Medicare and what is available and the changes that come each year,” she says. Betty, who worked at Westinghouse Electric Corp. for 31 years, has received state and local awards for outstanding volunteer service. “I love SHINE because it gives me a chance to help others, and mostly seniors. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for seniors and now I am one,” she says. “If I can help one person, I feel that I have done a good job.”