HUGHESVILLE - The digital pedometer attached to his belt is the "greatest thing since buttered toast," said the Rev. Art Gladfelter. The device measures the number of steps its wearer takes each day.
Since he began tracking his steps some five years ago, Gladfelter has seen a knee destined for surgery heal itself.
The goal is 30,000 steps per day, or some 12 miles, in the Virgin Health-sponsored challenge that pits groups of beneficiaries in competition to see who moves the most in a year.
Although Gladfelter has run the Muncy Valley Hospital 5K race with his wife, Sharon, the walking and running is not only for its own sake.
Retired since 1999, the former pastor of Hughesville's Christ United Methodist Church pursues his myriad interests and community involvements with a quickstep intensity.
Gladfelter was an engineer before entering the Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1970.
After graduating from Penn State University in 1959, he worked for Bendix Corp., York, and published a paper on the measurement of "flutter" in sound recorders.
"I enjoyed work," Gladfelter said about Bendix. "It was a great group of fellas, a wonderful boss. I'm still a circuit man."
Some of that circuit mania is satisfied today by building model airplanes.
Gladfelter has built a number of radio-controlled planes, and flies them with the Sky High Fliers at his home field near Exchange.
Gladfelter also has given demonstrations to school children, including a May Day demonstration at Ferrell Elementary School, Picture Rocks, and an all-day exhibition for Danville sixth graders at Camp Victory, near Millville.
"The kids challenge you," Gladfelter said. "Bring it closer, go higher! They're demanding."
His recording expertise is in high demand.
Gladfelter records many concerts at the Hughesville High School auditorium, and has made CDs for a number of local singers and groups.
He also still helps run the audio at his former pastorate and has recorded Christmas cantatas there for radio play.
"We're getting some nice reverb on the recordings now," he said of the high school productions. "They (the high school band) had a trombone player in the back, so we had to aim a mic at the back wall. It sounds real nice in the mix."
During parades, Gladfelter is a waterboy for the marching Spartans.
"I guess you can see me running in and out of the band in the tapes of the Little League parade," he said.
Gladfelter is a member of the Hughesville Water Authority, which has seen a large uptick in business in recent times with the gas drilling surge.
Gladfelter also serves as the self-described "scribe" for the United Methodist Church's Williamsport District Board of Church Location and Building. The board exists so churches can "ask us for an opinion, or if they want to borrow money," Gladfelter said, adding that many churches in the district, which covers much of the Northern Tier, have not yet made themselves handicapped accessible.
He refers to his membership on the various boards and organizations as "my donation to the community."