GILES COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — People who know 90-year-old George Loya would describe him as being a hard worker.
According to Heritage Hall Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center Horticulture Director Tyler Gray, “I’m a quarter of his age and he outworks me, that will tell you he’s a hard one to keep up with.”
Loya was diagnosed with dementia, but he isn’t letting that diagnosis stop him from enjoying what he loves: gardening.
Heritage Hall Health and rehabilitation Center resident George Loya says, “I get up in the morning first thing, I’m out in the garden, then when I get hot, I quit,” said Loya, a resident at Heritage Hall Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.
“He brought me seeds and then handed me knee-pads and work gloves,” Gray said. “I didn’t know what I was getting into.”
What was once an open space of grass is now a labor of love.
“It makes you feel good because I’m doing something I’m getting benefit out of it,” said Loya.
However, vegetables aren’t the only things growing in Loya’s garden. Wisdom is planted there, too.
“You got to motivate and keep occupied,” Loya said. “You can’t sit around and play tiddlywinks.”
“He’s taught me a lot,” said Gray. “Like how to cultivate, how to transplant a lot of different things, and get out of my comfort zone.”
The 90-year-old says he is grateful for the little gifts that life has given him, especially during this pandemic.
“You wake up in the morning and you see the sunshine, you should thank God you are up and walking around,” Loya said.
When it comes to his garden, he’s happy to share.
In the words of Loya, “They enjoy it and they like it, then take it.”
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