By Diane Ako
HONOLULU (KITV) — A Pearl City man spends his retirement serving his neighborhood, because helping others is his way of Aging Well. He is 74-year-old Larry Veray, and you will probably see more of him in the news over the next few years because he’s involved with a high-profile community issue.
Veray joined the U.S. Navy in 1968 and flew combat missions in the Vietnam War. In 1974, he went from air to sea, assigned to submarines. He proudly asserts he was “born and raised in the Navy to be a leader. There isn’t any problem I can’t work.”
In 1992, Veray retired as a Navy Command Master Chief and was a federal contractor at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Headquarters. He says he learned leadership and persistence from the military. “I love people and love helping people. The most rewarding thing is when they say ‘Thank you,'” says Veray.
His U.S. Indo-Pacific Command supervisor, LCDR Dave “Hobo” Rosenfelder, says, “The reason Larry is aging well and the reason he’s such an inspiration are actually the same thing. He has unlimited energy when it comes to helping others. Like he truly just will never stop!”
Veray’s list of community service goes back decades – his townhouse association, the neighborhood security watch, the Pearl City Lions. But it’s his presidency of the Pearl City Neighborhood Board that launched him into the spotlight.
It’s been tackling Sunset Memorial Cemetery Park, the neglected, vandalized, bankrupt graveyard with perpetual problems. In November, Veray helped advance a new and novel solution proposed by Sen. Glenn Wakai: adding a solar farm above the graves to generate power and money. And he’s agreed to serve as the president of the newly created nonprofit, Friends of Sunset Memorial Park. “The good news is I just retired, so I have time to work with the families!” he says.
He acknowledges this is an unusual way to voluntarily spend retirement, but he says he did enough relaxing and fishing in his earlier life. Now, “It’s more rewarding to be with our seniors, to help them.”
Fellow Neighborhood Board member Charmaine Doran isn’t surprised. “He’s not winding down. He’s winding up. He has a lot of energy. He just joined the Lions. He’s finishing a nonprofit. He’s really just a wonderful living example of how we all should live every single day,” she laughs.
Veray: retired from two careers, but just getting started.
If you’d like to lend your manpower to cemetery cleanups, follow the nonprofit’s Facebook updates. Veray will post updates including dates for cleanups.
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