The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Education

March 27, 2011

Locals fondly recall Peace Corps service on agency's anniversary

Work life-changing for volunteers

ANDERSON, Ind. — More than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 countries in the past 50 years. President John F. Kennedy officially created Peace Corps in March 1961 with an executive order with the first group of 51 volunteers leaving to serve as teachers in Ghana that August.

Throughout those years, dozens if not hundreds of volunteers have come from Madison County including these four Anderson residents.

Here is just a sampling of their experiences and a reflection on what their service meant to them in their own words.

Ervin and Lois Rockhill

Turkey, 1965 to 1967


Ervin and Lois Rockhill married on a Saturday and the following Friday the newlywed couple left for Peace Corps training in Oregon. A month later they were serving as Peace Corps volunteers in Turkey.

The couple met at Anderson College where they quickly fell in love and decided to marry. For Lois, the Peace Corps was filling a void — with graduation and degrees in sociology and social work upcoming, she had no idea what she wanted to do. An Anderson College alumnus had spoken to students about the Peace Corps. That would be her next step, she decided. This was all before Ervin was part of the picture.

“I probably wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for Lois,” Ervin Rockhill said jokingly. “It wasn’t anything that had ever occurred to me. She’d applied and been accepted before we even started dating.”

But he said he wouldn’t change the experience for anything.

“It certainly opened up my eyes to a bigger world,” he said. “My understanding that there are other cultures with a lot of richness that I would not have been aware of without the experience. I’m sure I’m more receptive to difference among people and cultures, more tolerant of different ways of living and points of view. I have more of a world view of things as opposed to a parochial view.”

The two worked for a year in eastern Turkey in a small village — Tekyol Koy, which literally means single road. They did a bit of earthquake relief after the country suffered a large earthquake and then moved to Erzurum where they worked at a university with library staff.

“We used to laugh, here we are — very, very young at the time, new graduates out of Anderson College in our early 20s — and we are to determine the needs of village people that have lived there thousands of years and make changes,” Lois Rockhill said. “What we did was learn about a group of people, and they learned about us. We were so very, very different. It was a fantastic opportunity to share who we were with each other. We also learned that in so many ways we were the same.”

The Rockhills spent most their time in the village — which is what Lois recalls most vividly — on helping the villagers improve their diets by raising rabbits and chickens.

“When I look back on it, the experience wasn’t what I thought it was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to go in and make a huge difference in some kind of important way. The difference was in our lives and in the people we came into contact with.”

The idea of joining the Peace Corps’ Rapid Response Corps for returned volunteers is something the two are considering after retirement. They would “definitely” recommend service to those interested.

Text Only
Local Education
  • NWS - HB0423 - Symphony for Kids - JC 31a.jpg Symphony for Kids draws Anderson-area students

    Nearly 1,000 fifth- and sixth-grade students attended the Anderson Symphony Orchestra's performance Tuesday during the annual Symphony for Kids concert at the Paramount Theatre.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Frankton school evacuated, no bomb found

    Students were back in classes at Frankton Jr./Sr. High School after a bomb threat forced an evacuation Tuesday morning. No explosive device was found.

    April 22, 2014

  • Students to get introduction to symphony Nearly 1,000 fifth- and sixth-grade Madison County students will be going to the Paramount Theatre Tuesday for the annual Symphony for Kids concert.

    April 22, 2014

  • Ellspermann, Susan Ellspermann to deliver AU commencement address Indiana Lt. Gov. Susan Ellspermann will address the Anderson University Class of 2014 during commencement exercises on Saturday, May 10.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA HB0421 Silent Movie 2 Acting without words

    Nineteen area students will take a walk down the red carpet Tuesday evening as their film projects premiere at the Paramount Theatre during the WRC Silent Film Festival.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 2014 Debutante Cotillion participants

    The 11 participants in this year’s Debutante Cotillion Beautillion Militaire were asked a variety of questions, including their influences, words that describe themselves and favorite “words to live by.” The event begins at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Madison Park Church of God, 6607 Providence Drive. Call Antoinette Davis at 620-2229 for tickets, which are $270 per table or $30 each.

    April 19, 2014

  • NWS-HB0419-IvyTech-JC2.JPG Work begins on new Ivy Tech facility

    Motorists driving on East 60th Street near Columbus Avenue will notice heavy machinery working in preparation for a new educational facility in Anderson.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Many schools see increases in IREAD scores More Madison County schools reported preliminary IREAD-3 test results Friday and, for the most part, officials were pleased with the results.

    April 18, 2014

  • NWS - HB0419 - Bicycle follow - JC 3 Highland staff, students donate more than $1,500 to help classmate's family

    Despite being a fresh face in the halls, students and staff honored Suncerria's memory this week raising more than $1,500 in cash donations and $300 in gift cards as well as a food basket to support her family through their grief.

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Liberty Christian makes changes to annual auction Liberty Christian School is upping the ante for its upcoming Duck-Tacular event. The school’s annual benefit auction is steering away from past forest themes to “Duck-Tacular,” a nod to the popular A&E show “Duck Dynasty.”

    April 18, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide