Bill Barton: A Greater Purpose
Hailing from Pennsylvania and one of a long line of firefighters, Bill Barton spent his entire career helping people— including working as a fire investigator for Fairfax County, Virginia.
Eventually Bill "retired" to Front Royal, Virginia, and became an ordained minister. He served as a hospital chaplain and as chaplain for the Front Royal Police Department. Because of his training, Bill was appointed senior minister of the International Conference of Police Chaplains. When a tragedy occurs on foreign soil, if even one U.S. citizen is involved, a U.S. minister is required to respond. In his role as senior minister, Bill responded to several tragic situations nationally and internationally.
It is safe to say that Bill has seen more than a fair share of human suffering in his career. Like most Americans, though, he never expected to see what happened right here on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001.
When hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the west side of the Pentagon, Bill Barton was called to respond. He arrived that day and, for three weeks, worked alongside other firefighters, police, rescue personnel and chaplains. After that, Bill traveled to New York City and worked at Ground Zero, helping to identify and bless the victims.
Bill has spent his life supporting people during the most difficult times of their lives, but witnessing the tragedy of 9/11 had a particularly profound effect on him. Still, he points out that he is "just one of many" who have helped and believes he is simply doing what God has called him to do. Bill finds fulfillment in knowing that he has given his time, talents and energy to something greater than himself.
Barbara Williams: Spreading Her Wings
At the age of seven, Barbara Williams attended a parade in Detroit, Michigan, that would ignite a passion. Held in celebration of Charles Lindbergh's first transatlantic flight, the parade sparked Barbara's interest in aviation and that day she told her father she wanted to be the first woman to do what Lindbergh had done.
While Amelia Earhart became the first to realize that vision, Barbara remained determined to attain her goal of learning to fly. She spent most of her childhood in Chicago, Illinois, until attending college in Minnesota. It was there, as a student at Macalester College, that Barbara took flying lessons and earned her wings. While she tried to pursue her dream after WWII, her status as a married woman limited her options—a fact that does not sit well with her to this day.
Barbara and her husband Jim married, had three children and moved around the country many times. When Jim retired, the couple decided to travel to different areas of the world and joined the Peace Corps. They were sent to the Philippines where they worked for the Farmers’ Corps, helping native farmers increase their crop yields. They also learned the Ilocano language.
When they returned, Barbara and Jim decided to live near one of their sons in the Washington, D.C., area. After researching different senior living options, the Williamses chose Paul Spring because "it was small and private." Barbara also noted the immediate sense of camaraderie they felt. When Jim passed away two years later, Barbara found that sense of community and support even more important.
Staying connected has been important throughout Barbara Williams' life—connecting with her passion, connecting with people in distant lands and connecting with friends in the Paul Spring community.