By Derek Maul

VetOldDavid Vaughan may be the only featured veteran in “The Bridges 2013 Calendar” who doesn’t actually live in the retirement community. But that’s okay because as chairman of Senior Care Group, Vaughan pretty much owns the place. “We operate 22 facilities,” Vaughan said.

It’s a long story from the day the 81-year-old was born in Augusta, GA, and Vaughan doesn’t mind bending an ear in the telling. “We moved from South Carolina to Decatur (Georgia) when I was seven,” Vaughan said. “I played football at Decatur Boys high school, then Presbyterian College in Clinton South Carolina until I got hurt.”

Vaughan transferred to Vanderbilt in Nashville to be a writer, but graduated with a degree in psychology, a wife and a love of flying that took him into the Naval Air Reserve. “Nancy was the ‘Dream Girl of Pi Kappa Alpha,’” he said. “We celebrated our 60th anniversary in December of 2012.”

Instead of flying, Vaughan found himself on the USS Gunston Hall off the coast of Korea. “The Gunston Hall is a class of vessel named for Revolutionary War Heroes’ home towns,” he said.

Soon after Ensign Vaughan joined the ship he was redeployed to assist in the evacuation of more than 300,000 people looking to escape communist rule in North Vietnam. “We’d bring out anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 every trip,” he said.

When he returned to civilian life, Lieutenant Vaughan launched a career selling insurance in Atlanta.

Always looking for the next big idea, Vaughan purchased a group of nursing homes in Tennessee and became founder and Chairman of Consolidated Resources Corporation of America, Inc. After some setbacks in the 1980’s, Vaughan redirected his interests into syndicated apartment communities and the development of 22 new cable television stations. In 1993 Vaughan moved to Florida where he helped return several nursing homes to viability. When Senior Care Group was formed he served as President and CEO from 1999 until his retirement in 2008. He now serves as chairman of the board.

“Retirement is still a good business,” Vaughan said. “Yes, there’s a lot of rhetoric, but the world is aging and the US population is living longer. Then there are the medical advances, the affluence and the voting power of the ‘gray-beards’ to keep social programs funded.”

Vaughan may be recovering from quadruple bypass surgery, but he’s brimming with entrepreneurial ideas.