Vi at Aventura residents Bernard (Bernie) and Dolores Gordon met in Chicago on a blind date. It was New Year’s Eve and Bernie, 18, and Dolores, 17, were instantly charmed with one another. Two years later the duo were married with their mothers’ consents.
Today, after nearly 70 years of marriage, the couple still enjoy spending as much time together as possible and they have dedicated much of that time to helping others.
A second career: volunteering
After successful careers in the Midwest and trips to nearly every country in the world, the Gordons decided to settle down in Florida and pursue a second career: volunteerism.
They started as volunteer assistant teachers at Highland Oaks Middle School – Dolores taught first grade; Bernie, fifth. They were both good with children and from there, they took a course to become Guardian Ad Litem and serve as advocates for children alleged to be abused, abandoned, or neglected in foster homes.
“We would report to the judge and he would take our advice, sometimes removing them from their homes for better situations,” said Dolores. “We wanted to help.”
The Gordons began working with the Aventura police department in 1999, and are still there, “fighting crime,” according to Bernie. “We have done everything from fingerprinting children to car chases,” he said. “One time, we helped a policeman catch a man that was attacking a woman in the hospital with a telephone. But they have mercy on us now and give us some safer tasks,” he laughed.
The same year, they began working at the local hospital, moving between the operating and recovery rooms to make sure doctors’ patients were brought in on time and to let families know when and if they could visit. They both use walkers now, but still volunteer one day per week at the police station and the hospital.
Life at Vi
The couple moved to Vi at Aventura five and half years ago after Bernie was admitted to the hospital with a heart attack. While he was still in the hospital recovering, Dolores came to look at the community, signed the papers, and moved in herself. When Bernie was released from the hospital, he was surprised, but happy with her choice.
Their three kids, five grandchildren and nine great grandchildren have all moved to Florida and now live within blocks. Every night the Gordons eat dinner with residents, organizing a table of six to eight people. “The entertainment and the food are great,” said Dolores. “We’ve both gained weight, and then I lost some. I’m working on Bernie,” she said.
Now, they continue their good will by gathering food donations at Vi at Aventura during Thanksgiving, selling popcorn to raise money for the police department, and other volunteer efforts throughout the community.