Volunteer delivers meals, smiles

June 30, 2006|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like...

Bob Bloyer

Age - 81.

Hometown - Clear Spring.

Where would you see Bloyer? - Once a week, Bloyer is a welcome sight as he makes the rounds of his home-delivered meal route for the Washington County Commission on Aging. Along with the hot lunch and bag dinner he delivers, he shares a smile and some conversation, whether discussing the weather or the Orioles.

Bloyer begins his route at the REACH Center on Franklin Street, where he picks up the food to be delivered. He slaps a Meals Delivery sticker on the back of his van, then heads to Walnut Towers and Elizabeth Court.

He said his route takes about 45 minutes to deliver, depending on how long he stops to chat. Meal recipients receive meals five days a week, Monday through Friday.


One hundred eighty people receive the delivered meals daily in Washington County through its seven nutrition sites, said Sandy Gaylor, Nutrition and Wellness Program manager for the Commission on Aging. She said when Meals on Wheels dropped its program in the fall of 2005, The Commission on Aging added those meal deliveries to the ones they were already doing.

Despite a good volunteer base, Gaylor said they could use more volunteers, including businesses such as Citicorp which has a route.

Bloyer has been volunteering off and on with the meal delivery program for about 20 years ago, since his retirement from the Chessie System Railroad. He worked for the railroad from 1942 to 1985, except for three years when he was in the U.S. Army.

"Oh, I just like to talk to people. And you know, they appreciate the meals. It makes you feel like you're doing something worthwhile," Bloyer said.

During the school year, Bloyer volunteers at Lincolnshire Elementary School where he helps students with reading. He is also an active volunteer at his church, Church of the Holy Trinity on Oak Ridge Drive, where he helps with odd jobs.

A 1941 graduate of Clear Spring High School, Bloyer grew up on Millers Farmstead. He moved to Halfway in 1950 after he got married.

He and his wife, Ruth, were married 45 years before her death in 1994. They have two daughters and one grandson.

Bloyer said he's not one to sit around the house.

"I couldn't hack that. I get too fidgety. I can find something to do just about every day. When I can't, I do a little housekeeping. It's not my strong suit, but I do enough to keep the health department off my back," he said jokingly.

Hobbies - Bloyer enjoys reading and said he likes to spend time reading the newspaper each day The (Baltimore) Sun in the morning and The Daily Mail in the afternoon. He also like to read historical books or mysteries.

Having grown up in the country, gardening is second nature and Bloyer said he "dabbles" around with a half dozen tomato plants. He said his mother grew beautiful flowers and he remembers going with his parents to sell cut flowers, chicken, butter and eggs at City Market.

Bloyer has a wide range of interests from train watching, attending Maryland Symphony Orchestra concerts and performances at the Washington County Playhouse to bowling. He also likes to travel and has visited New Orleans, some of the national parks, including Yellowstone, and is looking forward to a trip with his family this summer to Arizona and the Grand Canyon. He and his longtime fiancee, Helen Hubbard, have been to Europe and Alaska.

What does Bloyer like best about Washington County? - "Well, I guess the best way to say it is it's home," Bloyer said. "There's enough variety here. I don't want to sound like the tourism board, but we're a couple hours from the ocean, the mountains and city. It's just, you know, everything."

Bloyer is pleased to see signs of revitalization in Hagerstown, signs that the city is "shaping up."

For more information about volunteering with the Commission for Aging's home meal delivery program, call Sandy Gaylor at 301-790-0275 ext. 206.

If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024 or e-mail janeth@

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