LOW MOOR — Jim Snyder has enjoyed a relationship with the Alleghany Highlands YMCA since its infancy.
In 2006 when the YMCA opened its new facilities in Low Moor, Snyder was president of The Alleghany Foundation, an organization that was instrumental in providing funds for the YMCA to initially get started and an organization which still provides a key piece in the YMCA’s funding puzzle today.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Snyder is still a fixture at the YMCA. Nowadays, he is 86 years old and uses the YMCA facilities for exercise while still recovering from a fractured neck he suffered in a fall on Christmas Day 2021.
Snyder remains an advocate for the Alleghany Highlands YMCA, and he can be seen just about any day working out in the weight room or walking on the track above the basketball court.
“It’s a wonderful asset to the community,” he said. “The YMCA is tremendous. There are a huge amount of people who utilize the facility.”
Snyder continues to heal from his fall, but he is forced to wear a hard neck collar as part of his therapy. When he isn’t walking at the YMCA during the winter months, you can often spot him out on the Jackson River Scenic Trail or at Clifton Middle School. He walks at least a mile each day.
He also lifts some weights and rides the stationary bike under the watchful eye of Matt Zierler, a certified physical therapy assistant with Ridgeline Physical Therapy. Staying active and following a daily workout regimen are critical components to a healthy lifestyle, and Snyder uses the YMCA as a backdrop to meet these challenges.
“That’s the key,” he said. “The YMCA gives me a place to keep up my strength and to walk.”
While Zierler, 25, marvels at Snyder’s commitment to his exercise program, he is also inspired by the hard work and relentless attitude shown by his elder pupil.
“He’s inspirational beyond belief,” Zierler said. “For his age, it’s tremendous — he’s very committed to his regimen. You could put him up against some 18-year-olds, and he would give them a run for their money.”
Snyder also inspires Zierler, who continues to recover from shoulder surgery in 2020.
“It’s a two-way street,” Zierler added. “He’s also been an inspiration to me.”
Snyder has been a resident of the Alleghany Highlands since 1965 when he joined the law firm of Stephenson, Kostel, Watson and Carson in their Clifton Forge office. A native of Nebraska, he earned his law degree from the University of Virginia.
Snyder lost his wife, Sara Lu, who died in January of 2021. He has two sons, R. Meade, who continues the family tradition as a practicing attorney in Clifton Forge, and Lee J., an architect in Atlanta. Following in his father’s footsteps, Meade has also served as president of The Alleghany Foundation.
Now retired, Snyder spends his days convalescing from his injury while rebuilding his strength and imparting his wisdom on the younger generation.
“He definitely gives me a different perspective,” Zierler said. “He’s taught me so much that you can’t learn in a textbook.”
Since its inception in 1993, the Alleghany Highlands YMCA has provided a wide variety of youth, family and senior citizen programs with expanded membership and services into all of the Alleghany Highlands communities. For more information on any YMCA programs, please call (540) 962-9622.