From the time they met at Holtville High School in Slapout, Bobby and Lynelle Roy have been a team.
For the past 60 years, the Roys have worked together in all they do, enjoying a happy family life and helping their community. Such is the case with the annual Southern Division Energizers auction, where the close-knit couple provide an array of food and home items.
“Bobby and Lynelle are over the top for volunteering, making stuff,” said Southern Energizers President Marvin Salter.
Adding homespun goodness and creative flair, the Roys have contributed to the auction’s success for more than eight years.
“We made $4,000 with our auction in June, and a lot of that has to do with Bobby and Lynelle and everything they bring,” said Salter, a Southern Energizer for five years. “Our members are creative.”
The couple likes to give handmade items. Bobby built five bluebird houses and eight carpenter-bee catchers. Knowing that auctiongoers seek homemade treats, the couple made 42 bags of chocolate-covered pecans and fried 105 bags of pork skins, in barbecue, salt and vinegar, and spicy varieties. Lynelle topped off their giving with 15 bags of trail mix.
Making delicious treats is labor of love
The couple do a little bartering to be able to provide the chocolate-covered pecans: “My sister has six or seven pecan trees at Holtville,” Bobby said. “I give her stuff out of my garden each summer, and she lets me and Lynelle pick pecans.”
The Roys take sacks of nuts to Verbena Pecan Co. to remove the shells. But there’s still plenty of work – Bobby and Lynelle remove any remaining hulls and hard pieces. They roast the pecans in butter, then Bobby melts milk chocolate for the coating.
“It takes six to eight hours of roasting and making to do this,” he said. “We make pecans in ¾-pound bags. We’ll fry up a bunch of pork skins every year, and they sell good.
“This is fun for us. We love to make stuff,” said Bobby, who has built and donated planters, benches and wheelbarrows decorated for Alabama and Auburn fans.
“My wife found a little milk stool with a burlap seat that someone had set out on the side of the road. We wove a leather covering with 2-inch strips and put the new seat on it,” he said. “I ain’t bragging: It was gorgeous.”
The “fancified” footrest brought $90.
Energizers Coordinator Don Franklin said the couple stay busy and are well known for giving to the Southern Energizers auctions that support local charities.
“They don’t let anything slow them down,” said Franklin, who has known Bobby for years.
“We feel the need to work hard and give money to these charities because it’s going to help someone,” Lynelle said. “We really love Project Lifesaver, and the Energizers push that a lot. We’ve got to keep it going. It’s in Bobby’s heart to give – he’s a very giving person.“
Best friends in life and marriage
The Roys have been a team since high school. For then-16-year-old Bobby, it was love at first sight. He was drinking from the school water fountain when he spied Lynelle.
“The first time I saw her, my heart flipped upside down,” Bobby said about his wife. “We were in typing class together, and that’s when I met her. I said, ‘That girl likes this old country boy.’”
After attending the Alabama State Fair, they were always together. The Roys married on Christmas Eve 60 years ago. Lynelle is involved in whatever Bobby does, and that includes serving the community.
“I enjoy it – whatever he’s into, I’m into,” she said. “If he’s involved in Energizers, I’m right there with him. I’ve got lots of friends in the Energizers.
“We’re together constantly, and we enjoy each other’s company,” she said. “I can’t imagine life without him. He told me once, ‘I want you to be my shadow.’” Her husband wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love her so much,” Bobby said. “She is my bestest friend.”
Stay strong and persevere
Bobby is known for being a go-getter, and has a tenacious spirit. That’s how he won a job at Alabama Power more than 50 years ago.
In 1963, Bobby was about 30 years old and working at a car parts business on Madison and Bibb streets in Montgomery. He was a family man, and made $1.65 an hour.
Every day during his lunch hour, he’d walk about eight blocks to the Alabama Power Crew Headquarters on Dexter Avenue and inquire about a job. He’d spend a few minutes talking with E.K. Wilson. This continued for two years.
“Monday through Friday, I’d ask for a job,” Bobby said. “I bothered E.K. by coming to him every day. He finally told Mr. Beasley, ‘I want you to hire him. He’s been aggravating me.’”
After two years, Bobby was hired as an apprentice. “Every time I’d run into Mr. Wilson, he’d start dying laughing,” Bobby said. “I’d say, ‘You remember me, don’t you?’”
Bobby was thrilled to get the job.
“E.K. gave me the break of my life,” Bobby said. “When Alabama Power Company hired me, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I loved Mr. E.K. The rest is history.”
Bobby worked for the Underground Department in Montgomery when he retired 20 years ago. Not long after, Lynelle retired after a 41-year career in banking, leaving as branch supervisor at Regions Bank in Prattville, where she managed about 20 tellers.
The couple’s sons followed their father’s footsteps to Alabama Power. Greg Roy and Jeff Roy are local operations linemen at Wetumpka Crew Headquarters. Greg’s daughter, Amber Hamilton, is a Marketing specialist in Southern Division and his son, Stephen Roy, is a Concerns Program coordinator at Plant Farley in Dothan.
Giving to receive
Bobby said he and his wife enjoy everything they do, “giving away and helping others.”
Sometimes Lynelle thinks her husband has met his limit. Their granddaughter, Shelby, recently visited them at home and watched Bobby frying pork skins.
“Our granddaughter said, ‘Please stop, Papa! You’re doing too much,’” Lynelle said, laughing.
This summer, the couple shared vegetables from their nearly 2-acre garden with neighbors and friends from Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery. Bobby tilled the soil, and tended the garden with Lynelle. The Roys grew corn, cucumbers, okra, peas, rutabagas, squash, tomatoes and turnips. After the harvest, they spent several days cleaning and canning vegetables and making salsa.
“Bobby wants to be able to give it away to anyone who wants it,” Lynelle said. “We say, ‘Come by, and we’ll give it to you.’
“Bobby promised the Lord, ‘If you make it rain, I’ll share it,’” she said. “God has blessed us so much with our two boys and their families. We’re happy and have a great life.”
Supporting their communities
For the past several years, Southern Energizers have donated to many charitable groups in Montgomery and beyond. The chapter has about 130 members. At the December meeting, members nominate 501(c)(3) organizations to assist, with board members annually choosing four.
Receiving $2,000 each in 2018:
- Montgomery Area Food Bank, which donates to underserved families in two-thirds of Alabama counties.
- PASS – Provides drug testing.
- Pilots for Christ – Provides free air transport to Alabamians requiring medical treatment.
- Project Lifesaver International – Supplies free GPS bracelets to people with Alzheimer’s or autism to find them if they are lost. This is a statewide Energizers fundraising effort.