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Donnie Wheatley

C. F. Library to Offer Program on Boys Home March 25

Clifton Forge, VA (March 8, 2019) - The Clifton Forge Public Library will welcome Donnie Wheatley, Executive Director of Boys Home, on Monday, March 25. His presentation, “My Experiences as a Boys Home Student and the Progression of the Boys Home Educational Program,” will be held in the Library’s Michael Armstrong Community Room at 6:00 p.m.

Executive Director of Boys Home since 1985, Mr. Wheatley is a graduate of Virginia Military Institute and worked toward an M.S. in electrical engineering at Virginia Tech. He earned an M.B.A. from Valdosta State College and completed courses toward a Master’s in Education through Georgia State University.

Mr. Wheatley served in the Marine Corps, resigning in 1974 as a Captain. He worked for Proctor & Gamble before returning to his childhood home in 1982 to work for Westvaco.

He has received numerous community awards, and was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the Virginia Theological Seminary in 2009.

Mr. Wheatley is committed to helping each student at Boys Home succeed. On the Boys Home webpage he writes, “Boys Home is more than a place to live. It is a place to grow.” He continues, “A successful man has to start somewhere. All successful men were once boys. But not all boys become successful men. Sometimes they’re missing positive role models or a supportive quality of life. So we provide both – and successful men are the result. Men who will take care of their families. Men who will contribute their gifts. Men who will be role models for the next generation of men. At Boys Home of Virginia, we show our boys that each day is a step toward that success.”

Mr. Wheatley speaks from personal experience. Headed for trouble with an unsuccessful foster home experience behind him, he was placed in Boys Home at the age of 12. “I was doing things that would have led me on a path away from success,” he says.

In speaking of his success, Mr. Wheatley recalls a special turning point. “When I was in the eighth grade, moving toward high school, Mr. Burrowes, who was Boys Home director at the time, asked me if I’d given any thought to going to college.” He had not, but Mr. Burrowes said, “If you think you might like to go, you need to act like you want to go from the first day of high school.” That made an impression, and Mr. Wheatley began to pay more attention to his grades.

Remembering his past fuels his strong commitment to the students. “You can offer a young man an opportunity to influence his future, to take stock of where he is, and put himself in a position to really change areas in his life that might be hindering him. That’s what draws me to it and keeps me going and keeps me focused,” he says.

Mr. Wheatley’s desire to interest others in the mission of Boys Home is infectious. “This is not about doing a job,” he says. “It’s about living a life.”

Mr. Wheatley’s presentation will conclude with a time for questions and comments from the audience.

Light refreshments will be provided following the program.

The Clifton Forge Public Library is located at 535 Church Street.

For information on any library program, phone 863-2519.

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