They, for years, voluntarily ran the St. Vincent’s Thrift Store before opening their own secular Full Circle operation that gave sales directly to area nonprofits. Bill took time from his successful career as a construction contractor to start, and for a while run, the still-thriving Poore Medical Clinic. Bill also took over the struggling Cash for Local Change program, promoting small local businesses, from the Flagstaff Arts Council and boosted its giving.
But the couple’s last and most ambitious venture, opening a food pantry not affiliated with the hegemonic Feeding America national program, proved their undoing. And, it turns out, soured them on Flagstaff.
Stepping away from Flagstaff
So, here they are in retirement in the Peoria exurbs, the last Western outpost of development off the 303 Freeway.
It’s a good two-hour drive back to Flagstaff, but the couple doesn’t do it often. And not just because the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered travel, and not because, in January, Barbara had a minor stroke from which she is recovering. Like spurned lovers, Flagstaff has hurt the Packards, and the scars are slow in healing.
Ask them what life is like now, and Barbara gives a wrenching two-word answer: “Too quiet.”
Before the pandemic, both volunteered at local Valley food banks, but they are slowing down now with age and now mostly keep to themselves. Bill’s primary project for the past year has been writing “Going Full Circle,” which is both a memoir of their Flagstaff years and a primer for people wanting to get the most out of operating nonprofits.