FAIRVIEW – If, for the past few months, you have missed Don Troyer’s presence at the transfer station (dump) on Kaufman Road near the Oscoda County Fairgrounds, it is only because in January of 2019 Don had the unfortunate experience of breaking his neck.
He had to fold up his box of tools and turn over his job at the transfer station to Tom Kaufman. He also had to forego his summer mowing stint at the Fairview Cemetery to undergo a long journey of prescribed inactivity and rehab. For someone who enjoyed working at the dump for 25 years, this was tantamount to forced retirement.
Many people consider work as something to retire from. But for Don Troyer, work is something to retire “into.” He is ample proof that work is important to living a full life of purpose and joy.
In Don’s world, hard work is the basis of maintaining high morale. It’s a means of keeping one’s spirit out of the pitfalls and muck of mental poverty. In other words, staying busy can be freedom-to and freedom-from, depending upon your outlook.
In June, Don was still confined to a neck brace and his doctor’s orders. He was sorely missing his days at the transfer station and was looking forward to the moment when he could return to this demanding job. The loss of production and pride garnered from his responsibilities at the dump and cemetery was taking its toll. The community missed his presence there, as well.
During July and August, Don started walking again. He was gaining mightily on his infirmity with each step he took up and down Schmid Road. He could be heard whistling to the birds as he walked.
With the dawn of September, Troyer can be found without the brace that held him back. He is once again host to the Wednesday and Saturday dump runs.
He is a smiling posterchild for the agelessness of determination and productivity.
Don Troyer is eighty-four years old.