A Tribute to Lyndell and Peggy Bryant

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By Granddaughter Kelly McCarty

Lyndell and Peggy Bryant are being honored by the community at the 20th anniversary celebration for the Wolf Creek Greenway in Vinton. Roanoke County and the Town of Vinton have both issued proclamations recognizing their service to the community. A bench will be dedicated in their honor on the greenway near Lynn Haven Baptist Church on June 26.
Lyndell and Peggy Bryant were named Virginia state winners in the Salute to Senior Service Contest in 2013. They were nominated by their granddaughter Kelly McCarty (center) for their tireless work on the Appalachian Trail and the Roanoke Greenways.

Lyndell Bryant was born on September 12, 1931 in the computer room of the Vinton Library. Technically, he was born in a house where the Vinton Library now stands.

Peggy Whiteacre Bryant was born on April 9, 1933 on a 200-acre farm in Gore, Va. She moved to Roanoke when she was 11.

Peggy graduated from Jefferson High School and Lyndell from William Byrd High School.

Lyndell served in the Navy from June 1951 until June 1955.

Peggy and Lyndell met at the Vinton Pool and married in 1956.

Lyndell worked in quality control at General Electric from 1955 until 1991. Peggy also briefly worked at GE, where they both met Ronald Reagan, who was a spokesman for the company.

From age 40 to 80, Peggy was an avid runner, competing in many local races and running a marathon at the age of 50. She is also a brown belt in Shaolin Kung Fu.

Lyndell and Peggy have four children (Keith, Kim, Mark, and Sharon) and five grandchildren (Kelly, Tom, Savannah, Caroline, and Landon).

They began their trail work sometime in the 1970s. The first trail that Lyndell helped build was Hawk’s Nest in the 1980s.

Over the past 40 years, they have helped to build between 50 and 75 trails with the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club and the Roanoke Valley Greenways.

The shortest trail they worked on was half of a mile and the longest was eight miles. They have worked on trails from Christiansburg to Tazewell County to the Mill Mountain Star Trail in Roanoke.

The Read Mountain Trail took over a year to complete because it was so rocky. They also had to cut a half-mile of timber 50 yards wide to create the Lick Run Trail.

In 1992, Lyndell dislocated his shoulder putting in a bridge.

Both the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club and the Roanoke Valley Greenways have recognized Lyndell and Peggy for their years of dedicated service.

They won the Bill Gordge Award in 2001 and the Salute to Senior Service Award for the state of Virginia in 2013.

Peggy and Lyndell have been with the Wolf Creek Greenway from the very beginning, when it was built in 1998 and dedicated in 1999. They worked on constructing the bridges and building the exercise field for the Vinton Police.

They estimate that over the years, they have cleared four dump trucks loads of sand from the underpass.

At the age of 87, Lyndell is still on the Wolf Creek Greenway nearly every single day, rain or shine, declaring that there is no bad weather, only inappropriately dressed people. He walks two miles and tells an endless amount of bad jokes during each visit.

Not only do thousands of people currently benefit from the trails that Lyndell and Peggy have made, but these trails will provide a place for future generations of Virginians to hike, bike and walk. Someday their great-grandchildren will walk on the trails that they built.