AFRH-W Resident Highlight – David Kaetzel
By Christine Baldwin | Librarian
David Kaetzel was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and grew up in one of its beautiful parks, Nay Aug. Even though it belonged to the city, David thought that his family owned it, since they were the only family living there. There was so much to do, with such activities as an amusement park, zoo, museum, swimming pool and a gorge with a magnificent falls; all of which delighted David, his brother and sister, friends and relatives, times he will never forget! In fact, living at AFRH-W reminds him of those days, as he walks the vast forested property, often catching glimpses of the animals that inhabit the campus, fishing in the ponds, gardening, swimming in our pool and being entertained by the many delightful musical groups.
While attending High School, David’s desire was to enter the U.S. Navy upon graduation. This was partially due to the fact that he had always been near water and enjoyed swimming competitions. Also, his brother was in the Navy, which also helped with his decision. So in 1961, David enlisted, trained at Great Lakes (which he didn’t think was so great as some Corpsman was always trying to stick him for some reason or another), received “A” school training as a communications technician (later re-designated as cryptologic tech) at Bainbridge, Maryland, and then was off to the Philippine Islands for his initial tour of duty. For the next thirty years it was fulfilling the needs of the service in such places as Japan, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Washington State, California, Germany and Florida.
Upon retirement (not!), David joined his brother in the transportation industry for sixteen years, commuting between Pennsylvania and Florida. He finally settled down in Pensacola, Florida and was active in the community for 22 years before coming to AFRH-W. He had already known about the two homes and had visited Gulfport as part of a service organization mission. But it took a low vision issue to convince David to come here because of the numerous medical research entities and, being unable to drive, the superb support for independent living. He is happy to be here!
David has three children, eight grandchildren and has recently married for the second time around. He has two sayings that he has lived by for a long time: “The core of life is the experience of challenge,” and “Preserve perspective and calculate the consequences.” David would like to offer his services if you would like to learn to swim. He entered the Maryland Senior Olympics in September and for his efforts was awarded a Gold and a Silver Medal, with an invitation to the National Senior Games in June 2019, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (GO NAVY! BEAT ARMY!)