94-year-old Advisory Board member looks for ways to help

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STANDING IN FRONT of the new library at the Riverside Corps’ childcare center are (l-r): Major Rick Peacock, Riverside corps officer, Mary Vanderzyl, Hakeem Eubanks, John Vanderzyl, Brittney Rose and Cathy Hill, childcare director.

Realizing the importance of reading for young children, 94-year-old John Vanderzyl, a lifetime member of the Riverside Corps Advisory Board, recently purchased and helped install shelves for a new library at the Riverside Corps’ childcare center.

Supporting John was his wife Mary, 93, and friend, Jerry Everington, who assisted with the library’s construction.

The corps’ childcare center currently has 74 children enrolled, ages two through five. The center’s director, Cathy Hill, commended John and Mary for their ongoing support of the center, and new corps officer Major Rick Peacock said “Because of John’s caring heart, many children will benefit from this library for years to come.”

Five-year-old Hakeem Eubanks has already taken advantage of the library, saying that he “likes cow books” and that the library makes it easy for him to read lots of books.

Since 1960, John and Mary have worked to enhance the Riverside Corps in many areas. A special highlight for them was their involvement in fundraising efforts for the current corps facility, which was dedicated in 1991.

“Both Mary and I have enjoyed working with The Salvation Army. It has so many programs that benefit those in need, programs that touch our hearts,” John said. “We enjoyed giving the library to the children because it’s rewarding to think that we’re able to give them a good start in life.”

When asked how both he and his wife remain so young at heart, John said, “If you believe in the Lord, The Salvation Army, and have the desire to help people then you just keep moving and looking for ways to help others. Age doesn’t seem to have much to do with that.”

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