Stettler resident Tony Hermus is a delight to chat with – he’s engaging, witty and absolutely radiates well-being.
Perhaps part of that stems from Hermus’s commitment to staying active.
At 90, the resident of Paragon Place heads out typically two times a day for bike rides around the community.
“When I retired from farming, I had to have some kind of entertainment,” he says with a smile, referring to his daily rides which he just loves.
“My children gave me a bike for my birthday and ever since, I have been biking everyday in the summertime, of course,” he added. “Most often, I go twice a day,” he said, pointing out that his route essentially circles around much of the community. It takes about one hour.
“I do it every day – and quite often, twice a day!”
Hermus said the route is about 10 km in length.
Looking back, Hermus arrived in the Strathmore area back in 1951 from his native Holland.
He came from the southern part of the country, about 10 miles from the Belgian border, he explained. He wanted to farm and said that at the time, there just wasn’t enough land back home – so he set his sites on the very spacious Canada.
A sister had also arrived a year previously to Alberta so there was a connection to the region, too.
“I went to work for different farmers in the area. And in 1955, I moved to Rosebud to work for a farmer there.”
He kept on saving his money so that one day, he could purchase his own farm. That dream came true with the establishment of a farm south of Big Valley.
He and his wife Joanne eventually retired from the farm and moved into town many years ago. Retirement brought lots of fabulous traveling experiences, including many winters spent in sunny, warm Arizona.
Later on, they settled into Paragon Place.
Joanne passed away in 2017. The couple had been married for 62 years.
In the meantime, to further his efforts to stay in shape and maintain a sense of well-being, Hermus said he also does exercises everyday at home in the morning.
A state of contentment also stems from just keeping busy and engaged – Hermus enjoys spending time outside, at his local church and he also likes to read.
Interestingly, this week also marks World Bicycles Day on June 3rd.
It all goes back to U.S.-based Professor Leszek Sibilski who initiated a grassroots campaign with his sociology class to promote a U.N. resolution that would designate a day for the celebration of the humble bicycle all over the world, according to www.nationaltoday.com.
“In 2015, Sibilski dedicated himself to an academic project, exploring bicycles and their role in development,” notes the site. “His project catapulted into a massive movement backed by ‘Sustainable Mobility for All,’ and eventually resulted in a dedicated international day set by the United Nations for the promotion of bicycling.
“On April 12th, 2018, the resolution declaring June 3rd as World Bicycle Day was unanimously adopted by all 193 member states of the UN General Assembly.”
From there, it literally took off.
“The resolution was greatly supported by Turkmenistan and co-sponsored by around 56 countries.”
For Hermus, biking is also something of a family affair.
Back in 2012, he took his whole family – about 29 people in all – back to Holland to show them where the family roots are. Of course, bicycle riding was a wonderful part of the unforgettable time together.
And of course, his ties to his homeland remain strong.
“On the farm where I grew up, I have a nephew with the same name as me taking care of it.”