Doctor Roland Bryans, more commonly known to most of us as ‘Roly’, was born in Smiths Falls, Ontario, where his family lived on a farm in a two room log cabin. He often jokes that while he was not born in a barn, he was raised in a chicken coop. The actual story is that the chicken coop was later attached to the log cabin and eventually became a third room as the family grew in size.
Roly went to university in St. Catherine’s, Ontario and St. John’s, NL receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree. Following university he moved to Toronto with his wife Rowena (nee Greening from Shoal Harbour) to begin his studies to become a Doctor of Chiropractic. Upon graduation, Roly and Rowena returned to Clarenville where he practiced for the next 32 years.
Dr. Bryans joined the Clarenville Chamber of Commerce in 1982 and maintained his membership up until he retired in 2014, serving as President of the Chamber in the early 1980s. Roly was also President of the Clarenville Rotary Club during this period.
Roly has never been afraid of a challenge. Because he had always dreamed of getting his pilot’s license, in the early 1990s he put his mind to work on how he could make this happen. As the Clarenville airstrip was mostly unused at the time and he could not afford to take time away from his family and practice to attend lessons in St. John’s or Gander, he decided to start his own flying school. After running an ad in The Packet, Roly recruited a group of 10 individuals who also wanted to learn how to fly. The Clarenville Flying Club was born. The group started with one airplane and eventually purchased a second to speed up the training process. Several months into the course, they sadly discovered that their instructor was afraid to do emergency flight procedures, such as spins and stalls, and had avoided teaching these essential training maneuvers. Fortunately, a new instructor was found and the group of 10 eventually got their pilots licenses. After graduation of the initial group of pilots, flight instruction was assumed by the St. John’s flying school, which had come to realize the potential of the Clarenville airstrip as a training center. Establishment of a commercial flight school in Clarenville provided an opportunity for a number of other people in the area to get their pilots licenses and pursue careers in aviation.
Roly was also very active within his profession, both provincially and nationally. During the 1980s, while President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Chiropractic Association, his team spearheaded the implementation of a Chiropractic Act in the Province. In addition to establishing standards of professional training and practice, the Act opened the door to access to hospital x-rays and Workman’s Compensation benefits for chiropractic patients.
In 2000, he became President of the Canadian Chiropractic Association after serving on that Board for a number of years. Subsequent to this, he chaired a national committee developing Evidence Based Clinical Practice Guidelines for approximately 10 years. In 2013, his committee received an international award for their work from the World Federation of Chiropractic, an affiliate member of the World Health Organization.
In recognition of his tireless work and dedication to the chiropractic profession and chiropractic patients, he has received numerous awards including the first Newfoundland and Labrador Chiropractic Association’s Life Membership Award. He is also one of the very few chiropractors to receive both of the national association’s highest awards, the Canadian Chiropractic Association Award of Merit and Canadian Chiropractic Association Medal of Merit.
In 2014 Roly retired from a busy clinical practice. While he looked forward to undertaking new adventures in his life, he has confessed that he does miss his patients, many of whom became wonderful friends. Since retiring, Roly and Rowena have enjoyed spending their winters travelling the world in search of warmer climates. This winter they are enjoying the south of Spain where he happily reports that the cost of champagne is less than the cost of orange juice. He often thinks of home but he is not sure what he misses the most; a good feed of Chinese food at Cindy’s or an order of Rod’s fries dressing and gravy