Today, I am interviewing a U.S. Navy veteran from New Hampshire who uses his professional skills in rather unique ways, as well as his storytelling skills to connect with his grandchildren and other kids.
When he was enlisted in the U.S. Navy, Richard Duhaime was a diver working underwater to fix submarines. After leaving the military, he became a carpenter and helped raise his four children. When they started lives of their own, Richard returned oversees as a carpenter with the U.S. Navy Reserves.
After turning 50 and retiring from military service, he returned to the water as a commercial diver and eventually became a diving techniques instructor working at an underwater welding school. Still, he wanted to do more. So, Richard began volunteering at a Christian summer camp.
Eventually, he discovered Workamping where he lives in a 29-foot motorhome and travels around the country working short-term jobs for different employers. The Workamping experiences allow him to spend extended periods of time near his children and grandchildren, who are scattered across America.
When visiting, he would take his grandchildren on adventures and, of course, make s’mores treats with them around the campfire. A natural storyteller, Richard enthralled his grandchildren with his stories and wrote a book to help them remember the good times they enjoyed together.
As a Workamper, he uses those same storytelling skills to pique the interest of young campers at a Christian campground where he volunteers his time. But, he also works other jobs that his grandchildren would consider to be fun places to visit. For example, he worked at a zoo where he drove a train and operated a merry-go-round.
However, Richard also worked at jobs were he could make some good money relatively quickly. He helps harvest beets in Minnesota during the fall and even worked on a lobster boat in Maine for a while. He also looks for jobs where he can utilize his carpentry skills at businesses, like campgrounds.
It was his passion for spending time with his grandchildren that led Richard to write a book about his adventures on the road and with the kids. Titled “Grandpa’s S’moresmobile,” he wrote the book in hopes his children would read it to his grandchildren so they would always remember the fun things they did together.
At the urging of his family, Richard hired an illustrator to create colorful images, and the designer even developed a coloring book so kids could create their own drawings based on the book. There is also a faith-based component to the book reminding kids they need a personal relationship with Jesus.
What I liked most about Richard’s story was that he was pursuing his dreams of travel and adventure now, while he was still young enough to enjoy the experiences. His father died at 51 and his mother died the month after she retired at age 65. Both of his parents dreamed of doing things “someday,” but never saw those dreams fulfilled.
That’s why Richard keeps adding experiences he’d like to try to his adventure list. Someday, he wants to learn how to create stained-glass designs as well as volunteer at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. He also wants to keep writing, which is a way Richard can keep his stories alive for generations.
That’s all I have for this week’s show. If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit www.forwardfrom50.com.
I’ll have another inspirational interview on the next episode of the Forward From 50 podcast. Thanks for listening. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review wherever you download the episodes.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.