GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Many people already know Gulfport resident Dave Vincent. He’s the former news director and general manager of WLOX News. He’s been in editorials, and long before that, reported on Newswatch 13.
What you may not know about Dave is he is a man who has always had a desire to give back to his community, and now in retirement, he’s spending even more time volunteering for others.
“I’m in a chapter in my life now where I can do more and help other people,” Dave explains. “And that’s why we were born, to help each other and to make life just a little bit better for somebody else. That’s really my belief.”
Thumbing through the pages of his own handiwork at Seashore Highlands Methodist retirement home in Gulfport, Dave talks about some of the residents he's met over the past few years.
“Hank was a World War II pilot. He was flying during World War II, and his plane landed at one point with only one little wire holding up the entire plane,” Dave explained.
Dave is using his 45 years experience in broadcast journalism to help tell the stories of every resident at Seashore Highlands. He’s volunteering his time to interview all 120 residents and write a story about each of them to add to a book kept in the front lobby, a house directory, so to speak.
“A lot of these people were in the military,” he explains as he scans over the pages. “Most of these people just had wonderful lives and still have so much to offer. A lot of times, we just don’t think the elderly have a lot to give in life, and they really do. A book like this just shows others how much vitality they have.”
Executive Director of Seashore Highlands, Rebecca Anderson, says Dave's work at the facility is much appreciated.
“Dave is just one of a kind, and his connection with the folks who live here is just very special. He definitely makes a difference in the everyday lives of the people who live here," she said.
Many of the residents at Seashore look forward to seeing his friendly face every week. Lois Jones put down her most recent knitting project to tell WLOX what his visits mean to her.
“Oh well, he comes in on Wednesday morning. He goes to every table. He speaks to everybody here, and I think everybody is thrilled to see him on Wednesday. I know I am,” she explained.
John Kelley is another resident, who looks forward to Dave’s weekly visits.
“He comes in and greets everyone, then sits down and has breakfast with me and helps me out with my iPad,” John said.
Dave has also dedicated countless hours to helping residents in Seashore Highlands’ memory care wing, a place dedicated to patients living with dementia.
And Dave recognized how important music is to them and discovered another way he can help.
Music is their solace. IPods with headphones allow residents to listen to their own personal playlist, and Dave is the one who created the music library for that program, selected and download hundreds of songs.
“Without Dave’s input, it would be hard for us to get all that done because it does, it takes time to get all that music downloaded. You have to interview the families to know what music to put on those iPods,” Anderson explained.
From Dave's point of view, it's a labor of love. He truly enjoys spending time with the people at Seashore Highlands.
“It’s the best thing I do each week... is just interacting with these people,” says Dave. “And maybe I make a little difference. Maybe they make a difference in my life. They cheer me up when I’m down. It’s just a blessing. It’s truly a blessing.”
Besides serving on the board for Methodist Senior Services and volunteering at Seashore Highlands, Dave is also a longtime member of the Gulfport Rotary, serves on the William Carey Advisory Board and works with the Community Foundation. He and his wife, June, also volunteer with the Harrison County Feed the Needy program every year during the holidays.