Karen and Bob Royer are living examples of being true hearts of a community.
The Royers will be honored at the Severna Park Community Center’s annual gala on April 29 at Chartwell Golf & Country Club for their long-standing volunteerism and involvement in numerous Severna Park organizations.
Sarah Elder serves as the executive director of the Severna Park Community Center, and she said the Royers are the unsung heroes of the center.
“They do so, so much around the center as Bob has led the renovation of the Boone Station Hall, and Karen has worked tirelessly on the grounds to make it part of the Maryland Pollinator Pathway,” Elder said.
The Pollinator Pathway is corridors of public and private properties that provide pesticide-free native plant habitat and nutrition for pollinators.
Karen is a lifelong resident of Severna Park and began volunteering in 1987 with the Berrywood community swim team.
“It was so much fun volunteering with the swim teams and the meets over those years,” Karen said. “I really got to know everyone’s kids.”
Karen also was involved with Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church as she taught Sunday school and served on the board for the annual Christmas bazaar.
Over the years, Karen became highly involved with the community center and did all the “worker bee” assignments with the galas, special dinners and breakfasts along with the array of projects that she was asked to help with.
Her latest project is to change the center’s landscaping to native trees and plants of the region. She orchestrated a grant to Unity Gardens and received full funding to replace the existing landscaping and purchase new landscaping.
“Karen is an extraordinary gardener,” Elder said. “She worked with Master Gardener Alison Milligan so we could become part of the Maryland Pollinator Pathway, and now we see beautiful butterflies, birds and bees coming to our grounds.”
The Royers met at the Benfield Pines Ice Rink at a Westinghouse-sponsored employee ice skating party. Bob is originally from New York, but he relocated to Maryland after being offered a position at Westinghouse.
Once the couple was married and settled in Berrywood, Bob began to volunteer at Woods Church doing handyman chores, and then he began a club that helped with bigger projects and routine maintenance.
“We started 30 years ago and remember meeting at 6:00am during the week to work on and plan projects,” Bob said. “Then some of us retired and we started a club called the Rehabbers, and it stands for Retired Handy Person and Breakfast Society. We meet every Thursday, and we do our projects and then have breakfast.”
His work has extended beyond Woods Church.
“Bob has renovated the Boone Station Hall and remodeled the entire kitchen among the other major projects to really make Boone a new facility,” Elder said.
Bob and Karen were also involved in Berrywood’s living shoreline and the Magothy River Association’s efforts in upgrading the Magothy River.
Both Bob and Karen come from parents who grew up on farms and that Midwestern spirit of helping one another to achieve a common goal is still paramount in their community spirit.
“You meet the nicest people volunteering,” Karen said. “You get so much more back when you work together to help a community. These people really get how important a community is.”
Bob loves volunteering and working together with people of all backgrounds and skills.
“I like building teams,” Bob said. “Coming together with people of different talents and finishing a project is pretty rewarding.”
Both Karen and Bob subscribe to the practice of leaving a community better than you found it.
“One of the great aspects that everyone loves about the Royers is that they are so humble,” Elder said. “They just come to the grounds and work to make the church and center more beautiful.”