Volunteer Spotlight: Carlyle Whitelow

Volunteer-spotlightIf you know Carlyle Whitelow, you know he is friendly, open and loves people. Rarely a Thursday goes by without his smile uplifting team members and residents. He stops BRC’s Administrative Center every week, bringing joy along with tasty treats.

“Hello, how are you?” Are you having a good day? Oh, tell me? Beautiful! You look great today!” Handshakes, hugs, and accepting words roll from this “gentle” man in the warmest, most welcoming tones you could imagine. And notes! When team members are not present to receive kind words in person, they often find a note left for them.

As BRC’s Industrial Ministries Chaplain, he always has time to listen with honest sincerity. Unfortunately, the one thing he doesn’t like to talk about is himself, so we will.

ICM volunteer chaplains provide a supportive presence in the workplace, a listening ear, and referrals when necessary. This service is free and confidential. He also trains new chaplains for this ministry.

Carlyle became well acquainted with Bridgewater Home (as it was known at that time) at an early age, when his mother, Muriel Whitelow, was the very first dietary employee of the Home and his uncle, retired FBI employee Joshua Taylor, entered as one of its first residents in 1965.

Carlyle has seen the coming and going of several generations in Bridgewater. He, his brother, and lots of other Bridgewater youth grew up playing on the Bridgewater College campus because their parents worked for the college. It’s easy to take a stroll down memory lane with him, because he knows so many, and everyone seems to know him.

Carlyle attended Bridgewater College, where he was the first black athlete to participate in intercollegiate athletics and lettered two years in football, basketball and track. In his quiet and dedicated way, he met many hard challenges and became a strong student, well prepared for teaching and helping others.

He began his teaching career in the Staunton City schools; earned his Master of Education from UVA’s Curry School of Education; and achieved the rank of full professor during his 28-year career teaching physical education and education at Bridgewater College. He also coached football, basketball, and tennis, and supervised student teachers.

Over the years Carlyle has received numerous academic, civic and service awards and recognitions. He is a Rotarian, served several terms on the board of the North River Library, was a member of the American Red Cross board, the America Red Cross Advisory Board and the Salvation Army Board.

In his spare time, he visits in the hospital and nursing homes, which has always been a priority for him. Since 1965 he has been visiting residents at Bridgewater Home.

After retirement, Carlyle began his Industrial Chaplain Ministry (ICM) at BRC with the goal of helping team members who may be coping with tough issues such as stress, marital and family strife, substance abuse, and financial concerns. Carlyle considers himself a person of God and desires to help others wherever he can.

Carlyle is not a traveler. “I am comfortable here. I like to be at home, greet and visit people. My volunteer work keeps me busy, but I do have time always for visiting and talking to people. That’s what I like.”