David and Judy Rimple have always been trend-setters. He as the first cardiologist in Wyoming Valley. She as the driving force behind the Back Mountain Trail.
The Dallas Township couple made history again Tuesday evening when they accepted the first-ever Charles D. Lemmond Jr. Community Spirit Award. The presentation of the award, established by The Dallas Post, was made in Lemmond Theater on the campus of Misericordia University and was followed by a reception in Sandy & Marlene Insalaco Hall.
The award is named after the former senator who passed away in 2012 and is designed to recognize a resident of the Back Mountai for his or her leadership and advancement of community spirit.
The award honors those who endeavor to improve the lives of Back Mountain residents through outstanding community service, puiblic service or philanthropy and embody Senator Lemmond’s commitment to doing the right thing, in the right way, for the right reason.
The Rimples were chosen from several nominations received from Dallas Post readers.
The audience included many who came to pay tribute to the memory of Senator Lemmond as well as to show support for the Rimples and the community work they perform.
Mrs. Barbara Lemmond, wife of the late senator, and Judy Lemmond, his daughter, attended with Shawn Murphy, former long-time district office director for Senator Lemmond.
Sen. Lisa Baker, who now holds the position Senator Lemmond once held, was unable to attend as she was attending budget hearing meetings in Harrisburg. Tom Yoniski, her field services director, presented the Rimples with a Senate proclamation.
Mark Albrecht nominated the Rimples for the award, stating on his nomination form, “Much remains to be done but the spirit of these two is a driving force behind this project.”
Albrecht, of Shavertown, spoke at the awards presentation, stating that Judy Rimple’s involvement in development of the trail came about “all because she wanted to ride her bike from Hildebrandt Road to the Susquehanna River.”
Rimple, who will be 73 years old in September, reiterated Albrecht’s statements in her acceptance speech, paying homage to the hundreds of volunteers who have pulled weeds, cut trees and worked diligently to open the 5.8 miles of trail that run from behind the Knights of Columbus building in Luzerne Borough to Lower Demunds Road in Dallas Township.
She talked about lawyers, accountants and industrialists who have volunteered their expertise to work with the Anthracite Scenic Trails Association (ASTA) in acquiring easements along the way and bragged that the organization has never had to purchased a piece of property.
“What we have everybody has loved,” she said, paying tribute to her husband for supporting her passion.
“This trail is all about community spirit,” Rimple continued. “To dream is to plan and gather together people who care deeply about our community.”
During his remarks, David Rimple talked about how the trail will, in the not too distant future, connect to levees in Forty Fort, Kingston and Wilkes-Barre.
“And then, I suppose, we’ll be off to Philadelphia,” he quipped.
Judy Rimple reported that ASTA currently owns 15 miles of old railroad bed in Mountain Top and, in July, will open a 9-mile trial from the Mountain Top fire house to White Haven.
The Rimples, who met on a boat on the Danube River when she was a counselor/teacher in Colorado and he a cardiologist in Pennsylvania, have been married for 23 years. They, along with his two children, her two children, their spouses and two grandchildren recently returned from an extended vacation to Italy where the family celebrated David’s 80th birthday.
A donation canister at the awards reception netted $282 for the Back Mountain Trail.