Community Builder: Couple creates legacy of love after decades of service

Published: Jul. 24, 2019 at 7:23 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - One Midlands couple has a combined 70 years of service to a Midlands nonprofit, but it’s just one of the many charities they serve.

Bob and Ila Woodwyk’s love story started in 1964.

“Summer we were 16, we had our first date,” said Ila.

But their desire to serve has been with them all their lives.

“I was just brought up that way,” added Ila. “We didn't have much, but what we had, we shared.”

“As a Christian, I feel like it's important to serve and volunteer, not just money -- some people that's what they can do -- but in my case to also tithe, if you will, my time,” said Bob.

That’s why the Woodwyks said not long after moving to South Carolina in 1982, they got involved with their first charity.

“I don't care if it's animals or people,” said Ila. “My heart’s with them.”

Numerous charities and 37 years later, Bob, a CPA who has had his own firm for more than 25 years, is also the treasurer for four nonprofits including the Carolina Wildlife Center. Ila helps with fundraising.

“When you've got people with talent and people who are committed and willing to give, it's essential to have that resource,” said Jay Coles, the former executive director of the Carolina Wildlife Center. Coles said he worked with the Woodwyk’s for six years and their support has been instrumental to the agency.

The Woodwyks have passed along their heart of service to their only son, James. He’s a captain in the South Carolina Army National Guard, and he’s set for his third deployment next month.

“Those before me, they've given for me,” said Captain Woodwyk. “So, it's only fair that I should give back in order to enjoy the freedoms that we have here.”

As WIS talked with the Woodwyks about the upcoming deployment, Kim O’Quinn with Mungo Homes stepped in to thank the whole family for their service.

“I want to thank you and your son for his service to our country,” said O’Quinn who then continued, “But that's not why we’re here. We are really here because you all have spread your generosity and your love and support of this community among so many organizations and so many deserving people, and we would like to honor you all as our most recent Community Builder.”

The Woodwyks looked surprised and laughed, while Bob replied, “So, that’s what this is all about!”

Friends said it was a welcome surprise for a couple who usually shy away from the spotlight.

“They don’t want any recognition. They just want to be there and extend support,” said Maxie Shirey, who nominated Bob and Ila.

The Woodwyks said they plan to continue to extend that support, hoping to leave behind a legacy of love from two hearts that have one desire to give.

At 71, Bob Woodwyk said he has no plans to retire from his CPA office or from volunteering on several boards. Ila is in the process of opening her own craft business.

The couple said their $1,000 donation from Michael J. Mungo Foundation will be given to the Carolina Wildlife Center.

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