For over four decades, Vanda Bostwick-Dade has been a pillar of the community in Waverly.
She ran a daycare from her home for 12 years, and spent another 16 as a phlebotomist at Guthrie Medical Center.
“I feel like this is what I’m meant to do,” she said.
Bostwick-Dade moved to Waverly from Danbury, England — a small town outside of London — in 1972.
Her then-husband was stationed there while serving in the Air Force.
“They met, fell in love, and she moved over here,” her son Chris Bostwick said, “Later her mother and sister moved over, so her whole family would be in the U.S.”
Prior to opening the daycare, Bostwick-Dade worked in a sewing factory.
“She was just trying to make ends meet. My dad was a janitor. She worked at a sewing factory … just to put food on the table,” said her son. “She worked her butt off to make ends meet.”
“She got three kids through college,” he added. “I was the first person in the history of my family, on either side, to go to college. She always said ‘When you go to college,’ not ‘if,’ so we all did.”
Bostwick-Dade opened the daycare in the mid 1980s, and made a positive impact on many of the children.
“I have several kids in my daycare that are professionals now, all over the country,” she said.
“Those kids still keep in touch with her. She was just so loving to them,” Chris added. “She made a difference, and she didn’t even have to advertise. It just worked out that she was amazing at what she did.”
Even today, Bostwick-Dade continues to help the community.
She is currently taking care of her neighbor, who is recovering from surgery, even after breaking her arm.
“She was hobbling across the street to make sure she was taken care of,” said Chris, who was visiting when it happened.
He added that she still insisted on making him breakfast.
“It’s the right thing to do. I have a lot of faith in God and I just feel that this is my calling, my mission,” Bostwick-Dade. “There’s so much need in the world, and if I could make a little bit of a difference, that’s what I should do.”
“I think part of it is innate, but also her mom … was the same way,” Chris said. “It’s in her genes, and I think she passed it on to us as well.”