I am pleased to recommend Robert A. (Bob) Hayes for this prestigious award and have attached my nomination essay as well as the nomination form. I have known Bob for 35 years, and believe that he is the very embodiment of the positive aging concept.
Thanks for the work you do in promoting and recognizing seniors who continue to inspire us with their zest for life.
Retired Methodist minister Robert A. Hayes (age 74), better known to his hiking companions as “Bullet Bob” for his speed on the hiking trails, is not only the most energetic senior I know, he continues to be one of the most active and productive people I have ever had the pleasure to be around. I believe that he exemplifies every aspect of the Covenant Platinum Awards nomination criteria.
Immediately after retiring at age 65 from a distinguished 40-year career as a fulltime minister in the United Methodist Church, he began a second career in 1999 as the Chaplain of Asbury Place in Maryville. He was a member of the staff leadership team at the retirement and assisted living facility, visiting residents at the facility as well as the hospital, and leading Sunday evening Vesper services and weekly Bible Study classes.
In addition to providing for the spiritual needs of the residents, he also made significant contributions to their social activities. An accomplished musician, Bob volunteered his time to provide organ recitals, and also played the piano for many of the musical program as Asbury. He even participated in all of the Asbury Player theatrical productions, culminating in his role as Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady”. His artistic abilities aren’t just limited to music and drama, however. He also assisted in painting a mural for Asbury Place at Maryville’s Healthcare Center.
After retiring from the fulltime ministry, Bob also found that he had more time to indulge in hiking, which continues to be one of his favorite passions. In August of 2000, at the age of 65, he became one of the few seniors (and maybe the only one) ever to hike all five trails leading to Mount LeConte in a 24-hour period. In addition to hiking an average of over 500 miles per year in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the past several years, he and a group of friends now go on annual summer “adventure trips”. Since 2001, these trips have included hiking and backpacking in the Grand Canyon, the Canadian Rockies, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, and Zion National Park. In their most recent trip in 2007, they decided to take their adventure international and enjoyed treks in England, Wales, and Scotland.
While these summer adventures would be ambitious enough for most men in their 70’s, the winter adventures are even more extreme. For the past several years, Bob has ice-climbed frozen waterfalls in New Hampshire. Last winter, he also participated in a dog sledding expedition in Minnesota. Bob is also an avid scrap-booker, and has chronicled all of these adventures for his group.
After retiring as Chaplain of Asbury Place at the age of 70 in 2004, Bob has devoted much of his time to volunteer work at Camp Wesley Woods in Walland, Tennessee. Bob leads hikes and teaches environmental education classes at the camp. For one week each summer, he serves as the Minister-in-Residence at the camp, which is a position that is usually reserved for active (unretired) Methodist ministers because of its physical demands. It’s a tribute to Bob’s ongoing health and zest for life that he not only survives but thrives in this role. His contagious enthusiasm and sense of humor make him a favorite with the campers and staff. He also volunteers to help maintain the camp’s grounds and facilities by planting flowers every spring and helping with various construction projects. Bob also applies his construction skills to Habitat for Humanity projects in Blount County.
Bob is an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Maryville and works out every day at Springbrook Wellness Center. He continues to maintain his technical skills by taking computer classes at the Everett Adult Center, and is a member of Broadway United Methodist Church where he is a past president and an active member of the United Methodist Men’s Group.
Bob lives in Maryville, Tennessee with his wife Judy. Their daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Drexel Tiller, also live in Maryville. Bob and Judy have one grandchild, Karen Tiller, who graduated from Maryville College this year.