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Blog Feature

By: Marissa Salvesen on February 24th, 2016

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A Legacy of Service

Stories and Spotlights

Meet UMH resident Bob FuranoMeet Bob Furuno, an Army veteran, longtime social worker, and resident at one of our award-winning UMH communities, Middlewoods of Farmington.

When walking the halls of any UMH community, it is clearly evident there are many stories to be told. At Middlewoods of Farmington Independent and Assisted Living community, a few of these stories can be found along the “Wall of Honor,” a special, reverent space, which honors residents who have served our country in the United States military. Yeichi Robert Furuno, or “Bob” as he is known, is one of many Middlewoods veterans who is honored here.

Bob was born on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai on February 16, 1922. Along with his three brothers and two sisters, his family moved from Kauai to Oahu where Bob attended local schools through high school. During his senior year, Bob took first aid courses after school to equip him for volunteer service in his local community, where he was passionate about serving others.

On December 7, 1941, President Roosevelt declared the day a "day of infamy". It was also a day Bob was called into volunteer service to use his first aid skills to assist local and military doctors and nurses in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Shortly after, he volunteered to join the U.S. Army at only eighteen years old. He was trained as an Army Medic and served in the European Theater during the war. While answering the cries of the wounded and dying as a medic, Bob earned his Bronze and Silver Star medals for valor in the towns and villages of France. Bob was later wounded in the Italian countryside where he earned his Purple Heart.

Bob Furano and familyDischarged from the U.S. Army in 1945, Bob turned his attention to getting an education with benefits from the U.S. government. Bob attended and graduated from Dickenson College in Pennsylvania (PA) and received his master’s degree from Tulane University. His education and desire to help people prepared him for a career in social work. While working at summer camps in the PA area, Bob met his camp sweetheart, Gina. They were married in 1972 and together they raised their family; Beth, JJ and Katie. Today Beth and her family live in Killingworth, CT while JJ and his family reside in Portland, OR, and Katie and her family live in Avon, CT.

Bob and Gina eventually moved from PA to CT, allowing Bob the opportunity to expand his skills and experience in social services. He went on to serve children, youth, teens and young adults from inner city environments to summer camp programs through Easter Seals (Harrisburg, PA), the Philadelphia Society for Crippled Children, the Farnam Neighborhood Center in New Haven, CT, and "fresh air" summer camps in PA and CT. Bob retired from his career in social work in 1988. Sadly, his sweetheart Gina later died in October, 2007.

UMH resident Bob FuranoBob found Middlewoods of Farmington in December of 2007, and was quickly welcomed as both a friend and resident. He stays active and busy with the full calendar of activities and events at Middlewoods, enjoying Wii bowling, cooking, fitness classes,outings, and of course, volunteering. He is a member of the “Belles and Beaus” bell choir, which visits local skilled nursing facilities to perform for residents, and he lends a hand for community projects such as fundraising for Relay for Life, and feeding the hungry at a local park in Hartford, CT. Along with fellow veteran friends, Pierre, Cliff and Charlie, he has also graced the classrooms and auditorium of Farmington High School, sharing his experience of serving his country during that most unique time in U.S. history, World War II. Sharing experiences and answering student and faculty questions, Bob and his friends give accounts not found in high school history books. On each occasion when these men visit local schools, the students and faculty in attendance take the time to individually shake their hands, thanking them for their service to keep our freedom alive.

If only one word could be chosen to describe Bob, he would be fondly recognized as a humble man. In the world of sports, there are few athletes who are spoken of so highly that they are recognized for making their fellow team-mates better players. At Middlewoods of Farmington, Bob Furuno makes everyone around him want to be a better person, inspiring residents, family members, staff, and volunteers with his friendship and humility. We are proud and honored to know him.

Bob Furuno was interviewed by driver, Bob Deasy, a member of our Middlewoods of Farmington team. Bob D. provides transportation services to our residents for medical appointments, shopping trips, outings, and more! Many thanks to Bob D. and Bob F. for their time.

About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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