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Super Senior: Ludy Biddle

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 1:13 PM EDT
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SHREWSBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - At her farm in Shrewsbury, Ludy Biddle surrounds herself with horses.

Biddle runs NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, a nonprofit that supports homeownership, especially for low-income residents. “The part that I love so much is that our job is to solve problems for other people and to help them solve their own problems,” Biddle said.

She is about to retire from the organization after serving 20 years as executive director. “There’s nothing I haven’t loved about it and I’m going to miss it terribly,” Biddle said.

She says it’s time to concentrate full-time on her other passion -- horses -- and she’ll have her hands full. Biddle runs a kind of a retirement home for horses. But in a way, these horses also saved her. “This is me. I’m probably 8 or 9 years old,” said Biddle, pointing to an old photograph.

Biddle stood out from the other kids. “The thing was, I got to ride -- having had polio -- so I wasn’t going to play tennis or do any of the active things,” she said. At just five, she was stricken with polio, a virus that attacks the nervous system. “I remember, I was sleeping in my mother’s bed because my father was away, and I got up out of bed and fell to the floor and my mother was pretty sure that she knew what that was.”

At the time, there was no vaccine to stop the spread. “I don’t tell this story very often, but I was in the hospital for more than a month in a ward with children with polio,” she said.

As polio goes, Biddle was lucky. Just her right leg suffered nerve damage and she wore a brace. However, the emotional scars ran deep. “I didn’t think I was beautiful. I mean, I knew I wasn’t.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Why do you say that?

Ludy Biddle: You know, the sad thing is we have beliefs. We don’t know why or where they came from.

Riding was her escape. “I never needed to think about that when I was around horses. I never felt self-conscious,” Biddle said.

Now at 74, she’s itching to get back on the saddle again. “Yes, just as soon as I can get the blacksmith here to get shoes on, we’ll start riding again,” she said. “I grew up with a lot of privilege and a lot of advantages... Anybody may think my life is perfect and it wasn’t... So, I have always felt that everybody has some reason to welcome help and to welcome a rescue.”

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