Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Toney Reynolds likes Roswell so much, he moved here twice.
“I came here in ’56 as a pilot on the B36,” Reynolds said. “Then we moved back in 1962. I came directly out of school and I built the first new (animal) hospital here. It was (for) small and large animals, I treated all of them.”
That animal hospital was on the southeast part of town, a booming area while the base thrived.
“When I came here Roswell was a boom town,” Reynolds said. “They were building 12 missile sites all around the area. They said there were 50 new families moving here every week.”
Business was so good, he expanded.
“Dr. Webster had an office on Hobbs,” Reynolds said. “I eventually bought that and we ran two hospitals. A new residential development was going up behind my hospital.”
Roswell’s economy shifted after Reynolds got established.
“When they closed the base I had 12 horses in my hospital,” he said. “A week later I had none. There was a traffic jam of moving vans leaving town. The houses behind my hospital were empty.”
Reynolds was born and raised in Arkansas. He took his education there, too.
“I went to the University of Arkansas,” he said. “Then, I went to the University of Missouri and I graduated from there in ’62. The day I got to Missouri, I had no idea what an overcoat was, it was knee-deep in snow. Until I bought my overcoat I ran from building to building and went directly to the radiators.”
Reynolds’ wife, Sybil, remembered the early years.
“We graduated high school together and married four years later,” she said. “He had to pay the government back for allowing him to finish ROTC, so he did three years in the Air Force. Then we owned a motel and lived in it with our two girls. When we moved back here our oldest daughter kept wandering around our backyard. She said, ‘Mom, this is really our yard, right?’”
The Reynolds’ raised three children in Roswell.
“When our eldest daughter entered school her study was in the back of the house,” he said. “She said, ‘I’m going to be class valedictorian.’ She was. She’s been a principal and superintendent in Arizona. Right now she is training principals.
“Our second daughter is in Dallas and is an interior designer. She’s designed hotels in Austin, Texas, Albuquerque and I don’t know where all. Our son lives in town and works as the refrigeration man for all the dairies in the area.”
Retired now, Reynolds hasn’t slowed down for anyone.
“I practiced veterinary medicine 30 plus years,” he said. “Then some gentlemen bought me out. Then I worked as relief veterinarian all over the state. I’d go and work for two weeks or whatever was needed. Then I worked for the USDA as a food inspector for five years. Then I worked at the race track.”
Reynolds said race track people are a unique group.
“That is a different breed of people,” he said. “I’m the one that says that horse can run, I’m the last one. If I pulled a horse out of a million-dollar race I heard some adjectives that I hadn’t heard and some of them questioned my birthright. It was interesting, anyway.”
He also worked as part of the governance of the Western Veterinary Conference.
“I was president of the Western Veterinary Conference,” Reynolds said. “We have ten thousand members with headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada.”
The purpose of the organization is education.
“You’ve got to have so many hours of continuing education hours to continue working as a professional,” Reynolds said. “That’s the primary purpose of this organization. I was on that board of directors for 15 years.”
He’s also traveled to developing countries to help where he could.
“I volunteered with VOCA, Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance,” Reynolds said. “I went to help them learn about veterinary medicine. I went a number of places including Ethiopia. I was trying to show ’em now to take better care of dairy cattle and hogs and sheep.”
Work is a friend to Reynolds. It keeps him alive and it keeps him alert. He wishes more people understood the value of work.
“I hate seeing people who dread Monday morning,” he said. “I’ve always loved my work and looked forward to it. For me, it wasn’t a question of if I was going to get a phone call at night. It was a question of how many. I raise quail and I have a garden. I do it because I enjoy it. There’s no profit in any of it. I took a bushel basket of squash to the community kitchen the other day. A few days before that I took bell peppers.”
Features reporter Curtis M. Michaels can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at email@example.com.