Home Instead Senior Care says their own research has shown the positive effects volunteering has on seniors, both physically and mentally. That's why for the second straight year, they've held a contest that recognizes seniors for the work they do in their communities to make them better.
The organization just announced each of the state winners in this year's competition, and a couple in Vinton took home top honors in Virginia.
When Kelly McCarty first heard about the Salute to Senior Service contest, she immediately thought of two deserving individuals: her grandparents, Lyndell and Peggy Bryant. So she sent in an application nominating them.
The Bryants, who are 80 and 81, volunteer with two local groups that build and maintain trails in the Roanoke area. They spend about 30 hours a month working with Roanoke Valley Greenways and 15 hours a month with the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club. They've been volunteers with both groups for at least 12 years.
In that time, they've helped build about 75 trails, some as long as eight miles, and helped design and build bridges along them. They regularly work on the Wolf Creek Trail in Vinton and helped build an exercise field for the Vinton Police Department.
The Bryants were one of roughly 80 nominees from across Virginia that people could vote for online. For winning they'll get a total of $750 ($500 from the competition, and an additional $250 from the local Home Instead) donated in their name to the charity of their choice. They have selected to split the money evenly between the two groups they volunteer with.
They also get move on to the national Salute to Senior Service competition, where a $5,000 donation is up for grabs. A panel will select the winner, who will be announced at the end of June.
Home Instead has also planned a special event to recognize the Bryants on June 25 in Roanoke.