Reaching Out
In Retirement

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The term “recreational vehicle” usually inspires images of retirees on the road for some relaxation and adventure. But some senior citizens are using their RVs, and free time, to help others. They’ve traded lounge chairs and barbeque grills for ladders and paintbrushes. Kim Riemland reports.

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Locator: Falfurrias, TX

These retirees in RV’s are called the NOMADS.  But they are wanderers with a purpose.

Teams of NOMADS travel across the U.S. reaching out to communities – repairing homes for needy families and sprucing up churches, colleges, and community centers.

JoAnne Smith / NOMADS: “I was always my father’s go-for.  So, and it’s amazing, the number of things you learn.”

Repairing a home in one of the poorest parts of south Texas is the 29th project in six years for NOMAD JoAnne Smith.  She used to be a systems analyst for a steel company.

JoAnne Smith: “People are amazed.  You know, people say, ‘What do you mean?  How did you learn how to do drywall?’”

The NOMADS are part of the Volunteers In Mission program of The United Methodist Church.  The average age is 68.  They say this hard work is a labor of love.

Don Schoenbein / NOMAD:  “The satisfaction in seeing the people finally having something of their own that’s improved.”

Maria Reyes / Homeowner: “That’s my dream, that’s my dream – a house.”

This is the first home Maria Reyes (Ray'-es) and her family have owned. And the NOMADS are hoping their good deeds will encourage others to lend a helping hand.

JoAnne Smith: “If it inspires somebody, when they’re asked to do something, they say, ‘Well, those guys were doing it, I could do it.’ That’s a good thing.  I think that’s the biggest difference we could make.”


NOMADS stands for Nomads on a Mission of Active Divine Service.  The group is 1100 members strong. For more information contact: or call 1-866-4NOMADS (1-866-466-6237). You do not have to be a United Methodist to join.

To hear more about NOMADS and their adventures, see NOMADS travel far, wide to help those in need.