Jerry joined an AiP workshop back in 2004 and has kept the connections he made there ever since. A retired engineer, Jerry spent almost a decade after leaving GE traveling throughout the US in his RV before settling part-time in Waynesville, North Carolina.
He read about a volunteer project to restore the Francis Mill in the Francis Cove section of Waynesville and decided to learn more. He had volunteered on historic preservation projects before, joining a two-week workshop in Honolulu with Elderhostel working on the tall ship “The Falls of Clyde” in 1996 and doing volunteer preservation work in Virginia City, Montana, also with an Elderhostel group. He therefore had an idea of what might be involved in an AiP project. Until he perused the project website, however, he had no idea that his long-lost cousin’s daughter, one of AiP’s cofounders, was organizing the project. The name was too much of a coincidence so he enquired and sure enough found it was the same “Jamie Donahoe”. They met for the first time at the workshop.
By the end of that first workshop, Jerry was fully immersed in the project to restore the 1870 timber frame mill. He helped out again during AiP’s 2005 and 2006 workshops and during much of the time he spent in Waynesville, becoming one of the Francis Mill Preservation Society’s staunchest volunteers. He drew upon his engineering background to design the new flume for the mill, and worked with other FMPS volunteers to build it and restore the mill pond. He continues to help out with the annual Music at the Mill fundraiser and group tours, even running the mill and grinding corn on occasion. He continues to support AiP’s programming as well, making a donation each year to the organization.
For Jerry, a two-week project led to all sorts of unimagined results. He solidified a family connection, found real friends in the community, and established a greater sense of belonging there. All of which goes to show, the power of preservation knows no bounds!
Meet More Volunteers
Debra Adamcik – A veteran of AiP workshops in Mexico, Italy and Albania
Diana Barbera-Horwitz – So pleased with the results of one workshop, she just had to try another