Reece Snyder Ends His Long Run as Volunteer At Blue Ridge
BRCC News | Published July 18, 2019
A beloved member of the Foundation Office team at Blue Ridge Community College, Reece Snyder, is “retiring” from his role as a volunteer in the department after 24 years of loyal service.
Shortly after being born in Kannapolis, the now 86-year-old Snyder’s family moved to Haywood County.
Snyder is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, which he joined one year after graduating high school at 18 years of age along with several other men from Haywood County.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the start of my Navy career,” Snyder said. “I stayed in the Navy for 25 years.”
He started boot camp in San Diego before being shipped to Guam for a tour of duty of 19 months. He then returned to the states and got married in 1954. He and his beloved wife, Betty, have now been married for 65 years.
After 25 years of service, Snyder was still too young to retire and had a family to care for, so he got a job as a Supply Coordinator at Westinghouse.
He said this role at Westinghouse was perfect for him, as he’d worked in supply during his military service as a Master Chief Storekeeper, and oversaw the supplies of whatever outfit he was with. He remained at Westinghouse for 14 years before taking early retirement, which even then didn’t last very long. Despite loving her husband dearly, Betty told Reece to go out and get another job.
This was when he began looking around local businesses seeing who needed a volunteer. After looking at a hospital and several other locations, Snyder called Blue Ridge, and said it took no time at all for the staff to hire him and put him to work.
“They took me in, accepted and wanted me,” he said.
Starting off working a few days per week, he eventually started working once every two weeks as an all-around worker, but most often updated records for the college.
Snyder said he’s retiring for two reasons, with the first being his age. The second reason is a friendly bet he made with Blue Ridge’s retiring Foundation Office director, Ann Green, which said when Green retired, Snyder would also.
Snyder’s going to use his newfound spare time to spend more time with his wife and give her more attentive care, and said being married for 65 years has taught them a lot.
“When we were married and took our vows, we did it in a simplistic form and had a pastor come to our home for the wedding. There was an altar placed in front of us so that when we took our vows, we were on our knees. We were protected, looked after and given health and safety all these years and I truly believe it’s because of that,” Snyder related.
Remaining at Blue Ridge for 24 years was an afterthought for Snyder, who was raised with persevering values and taught to always “stay the course.”
Snyder said expanding your schooling into other areas is incredibly important, but beginning at a community college like Blue Ridge is the perfect starting point.
“That’s how I’d do it. I’d go to school nearby,” he said.
When not volunteering or spending time with Betty, Snyder enjoys maintaining his property and watching TV. He also emphasized the importance of a husband and wife having their own space, and that occasionally relaxing apart can bring a couple closer overall.
After a successful military and working career, this sailor is ready for a rest.