“When you’re retired, you’re supposed to have fun. Instead, I was sitting around the house, not knowing what to do.”

Dave Brumm taught math, philosophy, computer science and social studies for South Side High School and he had the education to support it. Dave earned an undergraduate degree in psychology form the Air Force Academy (he served in active duty for five years), a second major in meteorology from San José State and a Masters in Education from Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

He and his wife Kim were ACRES members, so he decided to visit the office. Soon he was volunteering.

“I got out there and I was working much harder, more physically than I ever did in the classroom and getting so much enjoyment out of it,” he said. “I was coming home dead tired – and feeling great. Even though I get sore, bruised, stung, and scratched up working for ACRES, it’s what keeps me going, keeps me happy.”

Dave paints, patches roofs, makes repairs, runs errands, changes light bulbs, and cleans the gutters.  He tackles larger projects, too: rehabbing our old barn into a casual event space and overseeing construction projects like resurfacing the office deck and installing a new roof. He takes initiative and the lead, too, working independently.

In time, Dave has become our go-to handyman, earning his own coffee mug and interoffice mailbox. A while back, he bought a pick-up truck to go along with his new responsibilities. Most days, you can expect to see his constant companion riding shotgun. In fact, his dog Barkley follows him everywhere.

Turns out, just when this retired teacher thought he was done teaching, done supporting the next generation, Dave’s come into a renewed understanding of his place in the world.

“You gradually come to understand what you’re doing is for the generations to come, it’s not for yourself. It’s forever. How often do you get to do something like that?”  All of it – the work, the woods, the satisfaction and peace he finds here – reminds him of what’s important.

“Volunteering at ACRES puts things back in place,” he says. “It’s so easy to get wrapped up in everything – we’re so aware of everything going on, we’re surrounded by information. That’s what ACRES is about, to me. If we don’t have wilderness, some place where we can remember what we’re about, what have we got? Just the noise. I come here to feel quiet. ”