74-year-old Army veteran's workouts help him connect to himself, other veterans

'I didn't realize that I had that strength both mentally and physically'


WINTER PARK, Fla. – A 74-year-old Army veteran never misses a workout.

"When I was young, I was raised in the Air Force, and so I was a military brat to begin with," Bob Barr said while inside the gym of The Mayflower Retirement Community.

Raised in a military family, Barr attended Virginia Military Institute and joined the U.S. Army.

"I was in Vietnam, and then I went to Panama," Barr said. "I was jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, and this young lady that I met down there was down there, cheering me on."

Barr met his wife, Toni, while serving overseas.

"She saw me, yes, and I saw her, and the rest is history," Barr said.

Barr stayed active in the Army for nine years before moving his family to Wisconsin. There, he had a civilian job and joined the military reserves for 21 years. He was then assigned to be the commander of a couple of units.

Bob Barr, during his time in the U.S. Army.
Bob Barr, during his time in the U.S. Army.

"One of the units that I commanded was a drill sergeant unit, and you run into people who you can immediately recognize as 'you used to be a drill sergeant,' and you can go up and talk to them, and suddenly, you've got a bond," Barr said.

Barr found training for the Army rigorous but said it was an important foundation for his future goals.

"It pushed me to a point where I didn't realize that I had that strength, both mentally and physically," he said.

Barr said his workouts now are focused on maintaining muscle mass. He combines free weights, strengthening machines and running on the treadmill.

The workouts, along with walks with his wife along the trails of their community, have opened new doors for friendships with other veterans.

"We have people who came in on the beaches of Normandy, we have people who survived the winter of Korea and we have people like myself who were in Vietnam," Barr said.

Barr said this Veteran's Day, he hopes others will share his commitment to health.

"Just for a minute, think about the people who today, this very minute, have their life on the line in the name of our country," Barr said.

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