Jan. 16, 2005 – For Arnold van Beverhoudt Jr., the Virgin Islands is home.
Van Beverhoudt was born on St. Thomas in 1950, and has resided on the island ever since – with one brief exception.
As he sat in the Delly Deck Monday afternoon, he fondly reminisced on his earlier experiences – experiences that led him to the post he holds today: Caribbean field office supervisor for the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Inspector General.
Van Beverhoudt is proud to say that he gained all of his formal education in the Virgin Islands.
"I went to Sts. Peter and Paul School from kindergarten to high school," van Beverhoudt said.
After graduating from high school in 1967, he attended the College of the Virgin Islands – now University of the Virgin Islands – where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1971. He proudly displayed his class ring.
Van Beverhoudt said he first got an interest in his current career when one of his college professors nominated him for an internship with the State Department in Washington, D.C.
"I got my first introduction to auditing, because I was working in the Auditor's General Office," van Beverhoudt said.
During his senior year, van Beverhoudt interviewed with the local branch of the Department of Interior.
"At that time it was called the U.S. Comptroller's Office," van Beverhoudt said.
After graduation, van Beverhoudt took a week off and then started to work as an entry-level auditor, working his way up the ranks. Van Beverhoudt said although he occasionally went away for training from time to time, he has worked mainly in the Virgin Island's field office, located in the federal building. There was also a five-year period when he was responsible for overall management of the Inspector General's audit office in Guam, and he had several opportunities to visit Guam and other Pacific islands.
"I've made frequent trips to Washington, D.C., but I've worked in the Virgin Islands all my life," van Beverhoudt said. "I've been in the same job, basically, for 35 years."
Now, van Beverhoudt admits it is time to leave the post.
"My retirement papers are in, and I'm ready to retire April 30," van Beverhoudt said, adding that someone in the office would be acting in his capacity until the position is filled.
Van Beverhoudt said his job has been a blessing to him and enriched his life; after all he met his wife, Helena, on the job.
"I met her during an audit," van Beverhoudt said. She worked as an accountant with the Department of Finance at the time. "Sometimes she jokes that she was my best audit finding."
Once his retirement takes effect, van Beverhoudt plans to spend more time with his wife and his daughter Selene, 28, who lives in Florida.
"She just gave birth to our first grandchild in July," van Beverhoudt said, adding he can't wait to take his granddaughter to Disney World.
Van Beverhoudt said he also has a personal Web site,
www.sandcastlevi.com, that he would like to work on.
"I have a lot of hobbies that I'm interested in," van Beverhoudt said. "I'd like to do some traveling, too. My wife and I have a goal of visiting all 50 states."
For now, no business ventures are in the works, but van Beverhoudt said he would consider working again in the future.
"There's a possibility that at some point I would work again, maybe in a part-time position," van Beverhoudt said, adding he would want to be his own boss and set his own hours.
Although he is looking forward to his retirement, van Beverhoudt will miss a few things about his job.
"I'm not going to miss getting up at 5:45 in the morning getting ready to go to work," van Beverhoudt said. "But I'm going to miss the challenge of the job, working in the Virgin Islands."
He added, "The job was never really boring. There was always something going on."
Indeed, he has seen it all – misuse of federal and local funds and other forms of corruption.
"Government officials should always remember that they are public servants, and they should always put the needs of the public above their own personal desires," van Beverhoudt said, adding if they did this that would solve some of the problems facing the community today.
However, despite the many challenges he faced during his long tenure of service, he would not trade the Virgin Islands for any other place.
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