Babette and Richard Boling
When you meet our honorees, Dr. Richard C. Boling II and Babette Boling, they talk a lot about the virtues important to them: community, family and legacy. They not only live these virtues daily, but have passed them on to two new generations. Dr. Richard Boling II and Babette Boling are the first honorees for the Council on Aging’s Benny Russo Award. They support many nonprofits that impact our community including the Council on Aging. They are different than traditional non-profit supporters as they are quite literally in the trenches working alongside staff to make a difference. This incredible couple believes in giving our society’s most vulnerable, children and the elderly, a voice and a helping hand. This was a virtue critically important to the late Benny Russo, whom this distinguished award is named after. Both have been tremendous caregivers to not only their parents and grandparents but also our community’s. According to Babette, the couple wanted to make sure they are supporting this great generation that raised us and supported us and now needs our assistance. Babette and Rich found the Council on Aging services as one way to effectively do this on a local level.
The Bolings’ legacy began on July 22, 1978 when the two high school sweethearts were married. Throughout the years, the Bolings went on to have five daughters their proudest achievement, whom they raised as women making philanthropic impacts as well: Ashley, Whitney, Hayley, Mackenzie and Ronisha.
Many are familiar with the Boling name through the award-winning Boling Vision Center where Richard is the founder and chief medical officer. Boling Vision Center has been compassionately serving the families of Michiana with a state-of- the-art, personalized eye care experience since 1960. Boling Vision Center is a third-generation, legacy eye care practice where the genuine care and comfort of the guest is their highest mission. Boling Vision Center has taken great care of area senior citizens for more than four decades.
The Bolings also make sure to pay-it-forward with other generational nonprofits. The Bolings started an after-school initiative called Raise the Bar Drum Line. It involves mentoring kids through drumming, rhythm, music, exercise and fun. Raise the Bar Drum Line provides a solid foundation for handling life’s lessons and offers an opportunity to participate in a weekly youth Bible study. Babette also oversees the “Golden Beats”, a group that brings positive energy and the message to “keep moving” to senior citizens throughout Michiana.
Both are also active board members for the Elkhart Education Foundation that their daughters Hayley and Ashley formed, whose mission it is to fill in the funding gaps for local students and educators.
Today, the Bolings also have another honor and title, being grandparents. They have three grandchildren (Ryan, Lyla and Noah) that will carry on their grand parents’ virtues of service.