Traylor seeks speaking engagements

Jerry Traylor is returning to Parkersburg for a visit and wants to speak to area residents.

Traylor’s message is a powerful one. One of determination and proving that anything is possible if a person is willing to try.

Born with cerebral palsy, Traylor has skied down Colorado mountains, competed in 35 marathons, parachuted from 12,500 feet, climbed to the 14,110-foot top of Pikes Peak, and jogged 3,528 miles from San Francisco to New York City – all on crutches.

Traylor, a motivational speaker who lives in Fountain Hills, Ariz., will be in the Parkersburg area Oct. 17-24. He is interested in seeing old friends and speaking to civic and business organizations, church groups and schools.

Traylor worked at the Bureau of the Public Debt in Parkersburg from 1980-86.

On Oct. 22, Traylor will be speaking to students at Matamoras Elementary School in Washington County, where his friend of 30 years, Bill Wotring of Parkersburg, is principal.

Anyone wanting to talk to Traylor is invited to meet with him at 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at DaVinci’s Restaurant in Williamstown for a Dutch treat get-together.

Traylor is scheduled to speak at West Virginia University at Parkersburg during its Disability History Week in West Virginia observance.

“Jerry is a good guy who helps people,” Wotring said. “His story is inspirational … all the things he has done.”

Groups wanting to hear Traylor’s message can call Wotring at 740-525-2891.

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I enjoyed reminiscing with Charley and Kelly Richards who were visiting in Parkersburg last week from their home in Indialantic, Fla. The Richardses, both 1973 graduates of Parkersburg High School, were in town for the induction of Kelly’s father, Carroll “Towhead” Swain, into the Parkersburg High School Football Hall of Fame.

Charley is the owner/president/CEO of the Absolutely Natural sun care products company in Melbourne, Fla. Kelly, a licensed clinical social worker, is co-owner of the Center for Life Enhancement in Melbourne.

Swain said he enjoyed the induction ceremony, which took place on a rainy Friday night, calling the honor “very nice.” Swain, 88, a former Parkersburg police officer, now lives in Fort Myers, Fla., with his wife, Greta. Swain, who graduated from PHS in 1945, was an all-state center in 1944 and played on the undefeated 1943 football team that won the state championship.

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Edelene Wood of Parkersburg attended her 48th “Wild Foods” Nature Wonder Weekend at North Bend State Park last month.

“It was wonderful,” the 93-year-old Wood told me.

“It is interesting to see the development of an idea become so popular,” she said.

Wild foods, or free food from the land, used to be looked on by some as “poor people’s food,” said Wood, who remains president of the National Wild Foods Association. Attitudes have changed and now there is an acceptance for these same wild foods, as “elegant stuff,” by people across the country, she said.

Wild food has become gourmet food. The medicinal uses of plants and healthy herbs were subjects at this year’s weekend in Ritchie County. Wood made a pawpaw syrup for featured speaker Chris Chmiel, founder of the Ohio Pawpaw Festival at Albany.

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Food banks benefited recently when the West Virginia Potato Chip Co. of Parkersburg received potatoes that were too small to make Mister Bee potato chips. Company officials told me 44,000 pounds of potatoes from Wisconsin were donated to local church food banks, Mountaineer Food Bank of Gassaway, W.Va., and the local Salvation Army when the potatoes were determined to be too small to become potato chips. Doug Klein, vice president of sales and marketing for Mister Bee, said this was the first time in the 24 years he has been associated with Mister Bee he has seen so many too small potatoes being delivered.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com