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Veronica Priddy

 

 Peace Corps Volunteer, Trainer, Artist

Veronica (Ronnie) Priddy spent her early years in Hartford, Connecticut with her parents and three siblings, two sisters and a brother. One of the joys of the early years was the singing trio she and her two sisters formed. Their repertoire was mostly folk music and popular songs of the era. “We didn’t play instruments which probably kept us from moving on to larger venues”, Ronnie mused.

 
Ronnie (bottom left) with her sisters

After graduating from St. Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut, Ronnie joined the Peace Corps which was the beginning of her peripatetic life. She was sent to the Philippines to teach science and after working there for one year, she met her future husband Lyle who was also a Volunteer. The next year, they were married in Manila.

            
Welcome to PCV in Bataan
Ronnie 1st row, 3rd from left    
 

Ronnie (top right) with co-
teacher & students in Bataan 

   

 Ronnie & Lyle wed in the Philippines

When their assignments ended, they returned, as a married couple, to the states where Ronnie got a job as a welfare case worker in Philadelphia. This was during an era in which some nursing home owners were taking all but a few dollars of patients’ monthly checks and providing substandard care. It was a challenging time.

The Priddy’s next move was to Arlington where they spent the next fifty years before moving a few feet over the Arlington County line into Goodwin House Baileys Crossroads. Ronnie was a stay-at-home mom for Sarah and David and at night attended graduate school, receiving a M.Ed. from the University of Virginia.


Ronnie, Lyle, Sarah, David, Nantucket Island Vacation, 1975

She returned to the workforce as a Placement Officer for Peace Corps Washington. She enjoyed working with new volunteers and during this time she started to develop her skills in facilitating groups, project management, designing and delivering of training, and presentation skills.

She then began an exciting career with the Department of Agriculture as an international management and training specialist. This entailed working with citizens of other countries to help them to revitalize agricultural and animal farming practices by enhancing their skills in agricultural and managerial practices. For fifteen years Ronnie managed the training that took place in D.C. and then this training evolved to include traveling to the participating countries for two to three weeks a year to manage or conduct the training in country. As a result, Ronnie has worked in countries all over the world with many of them in Eastern Europe, East Asia, Africa and a few in Central and South America.

USDA Agricultural Workshop, Egypt, 1993

She had two longer assignments, one of which was in Rome for six months working on the UN World Food Program, and the other in Armenia for four months working with an agricultural marketing project that also included Georgia.


Assignment Detail to UN World Food Program, Rome, 2000

The program that inspired her the most was working with the Global Food for Education Initiative, which provided school feeding programs to 38 countries worldwide.


Global Food for Education Workshop, China, 2004

With over 30 years working at USDA, Ronnie’s last assignment was to manage USDA’s Afghanistan program, to identify, select, and orient USDA staff to work as agricurtual advisers in Afghan Provinces.

Throughout her career, Veronica was the script writer for all the retirement and going away parties. She was the office humorist so most of the time this was a labor of love. There were times however when it was difficult to be funny on demand.

 

USDA Skit with Colleagues

This aptitude reappeared this spring when she helped to write and organize the ‘Dining Dollies’ Spring Fling skit.

 
Dining Dollies GHBC Spring Fling 2019

Between her globe-trotting trips and after retiring, Ronnie found time to take exercise classes through Arlington County and art classes through NOVA. She and Lyle still take the occasional free-class-for-seniors at the Annandale NOVA campus and have also taken some of the drawing and painting classes here at GHBC. 

         
In the taco truck with painting   Luis Manuel Santa Cruz, Owner


She has entered paintings in several of our resident art shows including the present one. This current show features two of her paintings that she has made from her memories of her work trips to Africa. 

        

The Fabric of My Life #1

  The Fabric of My Life #2

 

Ronnie also paints and sells greeting cards. This endeavor started simply by deciding to make a couple of birthday cards for friends. As more and more residents saw these cards interest increased so she decided to make several which she sold at a resident art sale. Now she has a small display in the art center where folks can pick out a card and pay through the front desk. A percentage goes to Goodwin House Foundation.


Ronnie and her card display

Often you can find Ronnie in and around the Fitness Center continuing with activities she began years ago such as water aerobics, Total Body Fitness, seated yoga, and Tai Chi. Line dancing was added to her repertoire when she moved here four years ago and anyone who has seen the Spring Fling in the last few years can attest to the joy and energy she brings to the group. While line dancing may be a relatively new endeavor, her many performances in the UUCA Chalice Theater as a singer and dancer have kept her performing ‘chops’ sharp.  Rounding out her involvement with life here she participates in postcard writing for the Silver Panthers Huddle and recently agreed to chair the quarterly sale of cards and wrapping paper (which have been donated by residents.) All the proceeds from this go to GH Foundation. In the fall, by popular request, she will teach a session to residents on how to paint greeting cards. You too can make your own!

Even with all these pursuits Ronnie finds time for family activities with her two children and three grandchildren who all live in the area. You have probably seen them around here or perhaps you noticed two grandsons who participated in the most recent ‘Christmas Carol’ production. Ronnie, Lyle and her family bring a richness to GHBC for which we are grateful.


Ronnie, Lyle, children, and grandchildren



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