Harvest of Blessings
story by Peyton Hobson
Bettye and Ray Willingham feel blessed to be from Henderson. Both Bettye and Ray’s grandparents are from Henderson. And they love the fact that Henderson feels like one big neighborhood.
“People from Henderson are wonderful,” Bettye says. “We always help each other out.”
Bettye and Ray also feel blessed that she has a job that pays for their insurance. They feel blessed that their two grown sons, Chris and Chip, and four grandkids are doing well in nearby Bowling Green. And they feel blessed that they found each at a junior/senior mixer in high school and have been in love ever since.
With blessings on so many fronts, they feel compelled to share their blessings with the community.
A big way they share those blessings is through a business they jointly started last year, PartTime Farm, which caters to children and their families. They decided to start the business after Ray retired last year from being a maintenance worker at an aluminum factory in Henderson. The PartTime Farm contains a petting zoo, a bonfire, hayrides, a playground, pumpkin patch, duck pond, and much more.
“We love to have fun," Bettye says. "Our children had fun, and we want other children to have fun.”
It takes a lot of work to maintain the farm, they said. But Bettye and Ray are rewarded when they see the happiness on the children’s faces.
"All hard work pays off when they're here," Bettye says.
The farm yields produce, eggs and beef. The couple likes to share the food with friends. As active members of Bellfield Baptist Church, they also go out of their way to visit and do favors for people in need.
Bettye has been a bus driver for three years. “I love my kids,” Bettye says. “Just like I love my own.”
For Bettye and Ray, a typical "retirement" isn't an option.
"We enjoy staying busy. Most like to sit around watching TV. We like to be involved in the community," Bettye says. "Hopefully it will keep us younger on the inside."