For 20 years, past Amos House board president Richard Walton has thrown an annual birthday bash at his waterfront home in Pawtuxet Cove in Warwick. In lieu of gifts he asks guests to make a donation to Amos House and his other favorite charity. The June 1 celebration was no different this year except that Walton, a devoted Amos House volunteer, turned 80 years old. Over the years, his birthday gatherings have raised tens of thousands of dollars for Amos House. This year’s brought in over $3,000.
Walton began to volunteer at Amos House 25 years ago, serving meals at our soup kitchen. When our Men’s Shelter opened in 1987, he showed up on Thursday nights to supervise and lend a listening ear. Walton continued to volunteer overnight at the shelter for the next 22 years and serve breakfast at the dining hall once a week.
“It just seems important. It’s something I like to be doing and it’s fun,” Walton shared. “It’s a cliché to say ‘you get more than you give,’ but you do. It’s been a rich part of my life.”
Walton graduated from Classical High School and Brown University, then Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1954. He has been a reporter for The Providence Journal, The New York World-Telegram, The Sun, and the Voice of America in Washington, DC. Walton has contributed to publications from the Village Voice to The New York Times and authored 12 books, mainly on American foreign policy. He has been a leading activist for social justice in Rhode Island, taught part-time at two universities, and served on several boards of directors, including Amos House’s board for 12 years. He was board president for six. The former long-term president and emcee of Stone Soup Coffeehouse, a celebrated venue for folk music, has also traveled to more than 50 countries.
Several hundred activists, educators, artists and other progressives attended his recent birthday party, a festive tribute to a renaissance man and loyal Amos House volunteer. Walton encourages others to roll up their sleeves and get involved at Amos House.
“Your life will be much richer for doing it,” he said. “I’ve had an awful lot of fun.”
Learn more about the ways you can raise money for Amos House and have fun doing it!