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Cryers named ‘Pride of Middlesex’ for 2010

Dave and Linda Cryer

“By their fruits, ye shall know them.”—Matthew 7:20.

by Fernando Atienza

Middlesex Rotarians have named Linda and Dave Cryer the “Pride of Middlesex” for 2010.

The Cryers will join a lengthening list of exceptional citizens recognized annually for exemplifying the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.” Previous award recipients include Louise Gray, Sherman Holmes, Ruth Barr, the Middlesex Volunteer Fire Departments, the Middlesex Volunteer Rescue Squads, Joe Fears, Jack Fackler, Tom Hardin, Charles Bristow, and sisters Rachel Norris Bridger and Ruby Lee Norris.

Linda and Dave will be honored at a banquet on Saturday, April 10, at the Christchurch School dining facility beginning at 6:15 p.m. Club president Chauncey Mann and event chairman Burt Alexander are asking the community to show its support for the Pride of Middlesex honorees by purchasing tickets or sponsoring tables for the banquet. The cost of the tickets is kept at last year’s low price, $30. Tickets may be purchased at the following outlets: The Allen Group in Urbanna, Coffman’s Store in Hartfield, all EVB bank branches in Middlesex, Middlesex County Treasurer’s Office in Saluda, Port Financial Services in Hartfield, and Revere Gas in Hartfield.

As in all POM banquets, funds raised in excess of the cost of the event will be donated to charities selected by the honorees. Burt Alexander also adds that “those who are unable to attend but would like to show their support to the honorees’ causes may send their contribution to Pride of Middlesex, c/o Middlesex Rotary Club.”

When the Urbanna-area couple was nominated at last month’s club meeting, some members did not know much about them.  It did not take long for the club to recall the words of Matthew, “By their fruits you shall know them,” because for some time now this couple has worked quietly to improve the human condition, not just in the county but in other communities as well. Their most recent “fruit,” The Cryer Center has been chronicled extensively. To understand this remarkable couple, here is a glimpse of their life from a recent Q and A:

1. Growing up years: What was your family like? Where did you grow up?

Linda: An only child, I was born in Richmond then moved to Mechanicsville when I was 10 years old. While we had everything we needed, my parents lived through the Great Depression and as a result were very conscious about finances. We never had a credit card, car loan or mortgage. They were pay-as-you-go or do without.

Dave: I grew up just outside Philadelphia, the next to the youngest of five boys.

2. Profession/occupation?

Dave and Linda: We both have very similar career paths. Many odd and different jobs through school, finally going into education where we ended up teaching together for almost 20 years at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. During this period we started a mortgage company and a real estate investment company.

3. Favorite meal?

Dave: Pizza and junk food (sad but true).

Linda: Pizza, and oysters as a special treat.

4. Greatest influence in my life?

Dave: Linda, who always led from behind and allowed me to grow and mature . . . not so much the second one.

Linda: My father, always the even-tempered gentleman, he always thought before he spoke and never lost his temper or control.

5. Proudest achievement?

Dave: Helping Linda raise our children to be responsible and caring adults.

Linda: Raising my children to be responsible and caring adults.

6. Most humbling moment?

Dave: In Cairo, at a bread shop in a slum, seeing the looks on the people in line as we entered in front of them without waiting; not pleasant or enjoyable, but humbling.

Linda: Becoming my parent’s parent.

7. Favorite leisure activity?

Dave: My yard, which is actually a 5-acre garden-style habitat devoted to native and zone-similar trees, shrubs and assorted plants. Oh, and watching Linda play with our grandchildren.

Linda: Playing with my grandchildren on the beach.

8. Nobody in Middlesex knows that I…

Dave and Linda: We are certified “advanced open water” scuba divers and have enjoyed diving in most parts of the world. From removing an octopus from a face mask 80 feet down off Oahu (Linda) to following a 6-foot barracuda from a very safe distance off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia (Dave). Diving has been a passion we share with our children, who are also certified divers. We also have done numerous shark dives, always making sure someone is the slower swimmer.

9(a): We know about your being foster parents to many children. How did you get started?

Dave and Linda: Our children had grown. A friend in Hanover was a foster parent and got us into it.

9(b): Memorable moments with the foster children?

Dave and Linda: A call one night that seven siblings had been found in a rural part of Hanover County who had never been to school or had communication with others. We had only been in Middlesex for about a year but were called because they wanted to keep them together and Hanover DSS knew we had the room. It was very memorable as these wonderful children explored a totally new world that included other children and school. Oh, they were eventually adopted and kept together.

9(c): What’s happened to them? Any follow-up?

Dave and Linda: Follow-up is often difficult as our relationship is often temporary and just as often the result of a troubling experience. Many foster children adapt to foster care and even thrive; however they will always remain other people’s children and continue to be cautious in establishing long-term relationships with foster parents. That having been said, we do keep up with some, at their choice, and continue to work with a few. One in particular is a junior at VCU and will be going to the Police Academy this summer. Another is in Texas with a family of her own.

posted 02.17.2010

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