He started as a bus driver at Westwood Heights School District and worked his way up the ladder, eventually retiring as director of transportation for Flushing Community Schools. For Bob Payman retirement means living a simple life, being happy with what he has, and doing for others, especially veterans.
Bob was working on his estate plan with his professional advisor, Eric Gasper of Edward Jones in Flushing. His brother had passed away and had left Bob a portion of his estate. "I didn't need the money," said Bob, "and I wanted to keep it out of the tax books." Eric encouraged Bob to consider a charitable fund at the Community Foundation where he could help veterans and preserve his own legacy.
"All my life I've always worked in the community behind the scenes," Bob said. "I build ramps for veterans, make their homes handicap accessible, and take them to dinner on Veteran's Day. I thought what a better way to honor them than to start a fund."
Bob himself is not a veteran, but he gets irritated when veterans are not treated well. Many veterans are not aware of the benefits they have earned, he said. Bob hopes to change that through this endowed fund that will benefit Genesee County veterans and their families.
"There are only two seasons for me ... cars and hockey," he joked. As a season ticket holder for the Flint Firebirds, Bob has met many people through that association who give him referrals for veterans in need. "That's why I decided it had to be solely for veterans ... especially those who fall through the gaps, and those who don't know how to look for help."