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Lyndell Bryant and his wife, Peggy, both 81, are dedicated to working on trails.
Photo courtesy of Betsy Head
Lyndell and Peggy Bryant (seated) recently were recognized for their work on projects with Roanoke Valley Greenways and the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club. Betsy Head, owner of Home Instead Senior Care offices in Roanoke and Lynchburg, and Chris Head, joined in the award presentation.
Friday, July 19, 2013
Lyndell Bryant will be 82 in September. Yet when he’s out on a mountain trail hiking, clearing brush or shoveling wet sand from a nearby underpass, he has more energy than many a younger man.
Bryant spends as much time working on trails around the Roanoke Valley in retirement as he did working 36 years as an electrician at General Electric.
He credits wife, Peggy, who jokingly told inquirers that she carried her husband in her pack back when she ran, for his commitment to and love of nature.
A member of the Star City Striders, Peggy, 81, ran her first marathon at age 50 and got into hiking and mountain trail work in the 1970s, her husband said.
The Bryants also involve their four children and five grandchildren in outdoorsy projects.
Lyndell and Peggy recently received the Virginia Home Instead Senior Care network’s “Salute to Senior Service” award, which recognizes their community service, especially their work with Roanoke Valley Greenways and Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.
They also received the local award from the Roanoke Home Instead Senior Care office. The awards included $750 that was donated in honor of the Bryants to Roanoke Valley Greenways and Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club to help purchase tools and supplies.
The Bryants have helped build and maintain nearly 75 trails in the Roanoke Valley and such places as Lovington, Hopewell, Rocky Mount and Tazewell County. They also help design and build bridges along the trails, but their primary maintenance is done on the Wolf Creek Trail, off U.S. 24, in Vinton and Roanoke County.
That’s where Lyndell said he’s believes he’s shoveled “20 tons of wet sand” from a Blue Ridge Parkway underpass since it started raining almost daily in early July.
The couple has logged about 30 hours a month during the past 12 years with the greenways and 15 hours a month with the trail club, according to the nomination.
“Lyndell and Peggy represent so well the dedication and commitment that make senior volunteers such a value to their communities,” said Betsy Head, owner of Home Instead Senior Care offices in Roanoke and Lynchburg. “They have proven once again that age is meaningless when it comes to making a difference. So many charities, nonprofit organizations and faith communities could not do the work they are doing without selfless volunteers such as Lyndell and Peggy.”
The Home Instead Senior Care network launched Salute to Senior Service in 2012 to honor seniors’ commitments to their causes and communities.
Trail work and tinkering around his Vinton home have help cure some of his ailments, claimed Lyndell Bryant, a diabetic.
He doesn’t have one particular fond trail memory of his volunteer work and, when asked, replies that he’s always waiting to start the next project.
“You never go out there and do the same things. It’s hard work, but it’s good to be able to do it at my age,” said Lyndell Bryant, dismissing a fallacy that he’s the oldest volunteer in the area working on trails.
That distinction, he said, belongs to 91-year-old Malcolm Black of the Bottom Creek Gorge Conservancy.
Although “Peggy’s kind of crippled up with arthritis” and doesn’t do much running anymore, she still pulls her load and they have fun maintaining trails, Lyndell Bryant said.
They enjoy meeting through-hikers on the Appalachian Trail and have developed and maintained friendships through the two organizations, he said.
In fact, Lyndell Bryant declared, when he and Peggy celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary Saturday, it will be “over hill, over dale!”
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