Carroll man is walking for his life Folks miss Donald Legore when he isn't out there

July 25, 1992|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,Staff Writer

The short, determined man in the Bermuda shorts walks with a floppy limp along the roadsides of Carroll County. You see him pTC around the next bend, over the next hill.

You wave, and he lifts his right arm. You speed past, and he becomes a shrinking image in your rearview mirror.

But if you stop one day, you meet Donald L. Legore, a gentle, round-faced 67-year-old native Carroll Countian, who walks three to four hours every day as therapy.

"I've been walking pretty close to six years now," he says in a soft, high-pitched voice. "Like my doctor said the last time he gave me a complete physical: 'Whatever you're doing, keep it up. It's doing you a world of good.' "

In April 1985, while undergoing open-heart surgery at University of Maryland Medical Center, he suffered a stroke. After seven weeks in the hospital, and seven more weeks at Montebello Rehabilitation Hospital, he went home to Finksburg.

He inched his way around the house, and then out his driveway to the street, and then to the neighbor's driveway, and then to the stream down the hill, and then to the house up the hill.

In slightly more than a year, Mr. Legore was walking six to 10 miles every day, depending on the route.

And to this day, between 8 a.m. and noon, if it's not raining, snowing or real windy, you see him plodding along Deer Park, Green Mill, Kays Mill and Niner roads, and Routes 140, 91 and 32 in Finksburg and Gamber.

Strangers approach at the mall and say, "Hey, you're the walker!"

He was out of town the month of June, and at least a dozen people have come up and asked, "Where you been? You been sick or something?"

Mr. Legore likes the attention. He says he looks forward to his walks and the waves from the people in their cars.

Even though he often can't make out who they are because of the reflection on the glass, he appreciates the gesture. It eases the terrible frustrations a stroke imposes.

He's been active all his life, as a farm boy outside Westminster, as a dedicated maintenance man in Carroll County schools, as a coach and umpire in Westminster Little League, as a hunter and gardener.

The stroke robbed him of much use and control of the left side of his body. And he was left-handed.

He can't slice a tomato. He can't clean his cherished collection of Carroll County milk, whiskey and pop bottles; he's thinking of packing it away in boxes.

He can't visit his old friends at the maintenance shop because he gets too depressed. He got goose bumps and broke into a sweat when he tried. He can't use his tools and doesn't open his toolbox anymore.

But he can still garden and hoe with one hand and battle his Rototiller to a draw. He can mow his 1 1/2 acres on his riding mower and help his wife around the house.

And he can walk. That has been a lifesaver, he says.

So he slaps a hat on his tanned head and flops down the road. And if you pull over to chat he obliges cheerfully, until it's time for you to go and he says: "I'll be seeing you."

And somewhere around the next bend, he will.

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