When Ted Houston was in high school, he was surprised – and very intrigued – to see a teenage girl playing football just as well and with just as much gusto as the boys on the block and knew he had to meet her. And it’s lucky for the rest of us that he did because 57 years later, Ted and Sarah Houston (78 and 77 years old, respectively) are a hard-to-rival force for good in their community. 

Ted, an Air Force veteran, retired pharmacist and preacher, and Sarah, a retired math teacher, have a passion for service to others, which has resulted in volunteer endeavors, mostly focused on seniors, too numerous to list. Some of the many organizations they have assisted include Elder Care Services, the Red Cross, SHINE, the Griffith Neighborhood Association, Bond Elementary School and Miracle Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where they conducted church services for residents every Wednesday until the pandemic hit. When asked why they volunteer, Ted responded, “You know how blessed you are when you are the giver and not the taker.” Their desire to help seniors was inspired by Sarah’s mother, who they described as a “community giver.”

When these Tallahassee natives aren’t serving meals to the hungry or helping people recover from hurricanes, the Houstons enjoy traveling. Favorite destinations include Africa, Italy, Israel and Alaska. A trip to Thailand is currently in the works. Equally important to Sarah and Ted is spending time with family. The Houstons have three children and seven grandchildren, ranging in age from seven to 24. They try to get together as often as possible, but the highlight of the year is at Thanksgiving when the “Houston Summit” is held. It seems that service to others starts at home; the Summit is a time for the family to discuss subjects from “health to wealth” during this educational time together. 

It’s hard to imagine that the Houstons have room for more in their lives, yet they do! They are active participants at the Lincoln Neighborhood Center and are passionate about FAMU sports and theater — and FAMU in general. Both are alumni and are proud that two of their children are graduates and two of their grandchildren are currently attending FAMU. Ted and Sarah also share a great love for their faith and their church. The Tallahassee community is indeed lucky, not only that Ted spotted Sarah’s talent for sports, but also that we are the beneficiaries of their love and passion for service. 

By Melanie Lachman