For many years, Richard Reyor of Port Orange served the Daytona Beach Drive-In Christian Church in many capacities.
He was on the maintenance staff, served on the church board, was a greeter, collected the offerings, served at the doughnut counter and sang in the choir.
On Thursday, May 14, many members of the church, including the choir, and people from the community went to Mr. Reyor’s house to honor him on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Practicing social distancing in these times of COVID-19, they sang happy birthday and Mr. Reyor’s favorite hymn from the sidewalk as he stood outside his home. His wife, Katie, in her late 90s, watched from inside the home.
A daughter, Mary Jane Roeder, who lives across the street from the couple, stood with him during the celebration. A son, Joel Sawyer of Port Orange; a daughter, Carla Klees of New Smyrna Beach; and numerous grandchildren fill out the family tree.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office announced the celebration by driving by with lights and sirens on. Volusia County Councilwoman Billie Wheeler and Port Orange Councilwoman Marilyn Ford each had a few words for Mr. Reyor. Ms. Wheeler offered birthday wishes from the whole community and Ms. Ford told him he was an inspiration to everyone.
The church pastor, the Rev. Bob Kemp-Baird, arranged the birthday celebration. Debbie Callahan, a member of the church for more than 20 years and an Adams Cameron Realtor, added to it in honor of the favorite church member. Mr. Reyor is also a WWII veteran who served in the U.S. Navy.
“We are so blessed to keep a connection with (Mr. Reyor) and to make his birthday special,” said Pastor Kemp-Baird. “I appreciate him so much.”
Melissa Frantz, associate pastor at the church, said, “I’ve known (the Reyors) since I was young. They have been great friends of the church.”
Mr. Reyor stood in the yard during the celebration, sang the hymn along with the choir and greeted people after the celebration, looking younger than his 100 years.
Pastor Kemp-Baird said, “I attribute part of his longevity to prayer – and the 4 or 5 miles he does daily on his stationary bike.”