Compassionate. Dedicated. Exemplary. Faithful.
Garry and Raeann Dykhouse have been devoted to Christian Health Care Center (CHCC), as well as the community, for nearly their entire lives. Their inspiring, charitable volunteer efforts have impacted thousands of individuals, from their neighbors in Wyckoff to families in California.
The Dykhouses’ community service began with the Wyckoff Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Raeann joined in 1958; Garry followed in 1972. Together, they served for a combined 53 years. They held every officer position; Raeann had the distinction of being the first female captain in Corps’ history. Through the Ambulance Corps she also volunteered as “Special Female Officer” for the Wyckoff Police Department.
As their tenure with the Ambulance Corps reluctantly began to wind down because they couldn’t devote as much time as they felt necessary, they became active volunteers for the American Red Cross, serving for nearly a quarter of a century. Raeann responded to the local chapter’s appeal in 1984 for help for flood victims in Wayne. When Garry followed suit four years later, they both enlisted in the American Red Cross National Disaster Response Program. With a moment’s notice, they traveled to natural disasters across the country: earthquakes in California, floods in Florida, wind storms in Texas, and tornadoes in Alabama, just to list a few.
While serving the Red Cross, the Dykhouses became active volunteers at Christian Health Care Center. Their connection with the Center, though, goes back to the organization’s origin. Raeann’s grandfather, H. Van Ostenbridge, was one of the founding fathers in 1911. Upon graduation from high school, Mrs. Dykhouse was the secretary to the business manager of the Center. After five years, she left the position to start her family.
Years later, several of the Dykhouses’ family members lived at CHCC. Mr. Dykhouse felt a special obligation to the Center and accepted an invitation to join the board of trustees in 1991. He served on the board for nine years, including five as its Chair. He helped establish the Foundation Board of Trustees in 1995, serving as its chair from its inception until this past summer.
Together, Garry and Raeann were regularly seen on campus, distributing and caring for flower arrangements donated by local funeral homes. For several years they volunteered at employee events.
Their service to Christian Health Care Center is just one way of remaining dedicated to their local roots. Raeann grew up in Paterson; Garry, in Midland Park. They met while students at Eastern Academy in Paterson.
While in high school, Garry joined the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was stationed on Long Island, where he worked with a team of psychiatrists. When he was ready to be discharged from the Navy, Raeann was the assistant to the business manager at Christian Health Care Center. A Royal Insurance representative came to the Center to meet with her supervisor. Raeann inquired about a position for her then-boyfriend, Garry, which led to a 41-year career at Royal Insurance, where he eventually became a vice president.
While the Dykhouses, who now reside at The Longview Assisted Living Residence at CHCC, are humbled by the rewards of their humanitarian and professional achievements, the couple is most proud of their true legacy: their family. Their ever-growing family includes three sons, their wives, 11 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren.
In 2014, CHCC honored the Dykhouses with the David F. Bolger Award for Service and Leadership.