Double-Amputee Raises $5,000 for Scholarships Through Peanut Sales
From spring through fall last year, Robert “Bob” Triplett hawked roasted peanuts and a dream at the Portsmouth Olde Towne Farmers Market.
His efforts generated $5,000, and he recently donated the money to the Portsmouth Schools Foundation for scholarships. A double-amputee and retired business owner, Triplett said the money will help generations of students go to college and earn a degree.
Triplett is a spry 79 year old who would steer his wheelchair to the market. He’d set up a peanut booth with signs bearing his nickname the “Peanut Man.” Other friends joined the effort, too. He sold bags of peanuts for hours, and the dollars added up. When customers learned about his plan, they’d often chip in a few extra dollars, he said.
Triplett, a 1958 I.C. Norcom High graduate, said the idea was born out of conversations with friends about the plight of today’s youth. Despite age and health challenges, they wanted to help the next generation, even in simple ways.
“Suddenly, I thought about George Washington Carver who created all these agricultural products from the peanut,” he said. “I said ‘we can use these peanuts to help educate kids.’”
Triplett sold peanuts and other nuts, like pecans.
Two $1,000 scholarships will be given this year to Portsmouth high school students from those funds. One scholarship is named in honor of his late son Ricky King and his late friend Otis Lucas.
Triplett plans to resume sales when the seasonal market opens this spring.
“My next goal is $10,000 so we can offer more scholarships,” he said. “It’s all about the students and what we can do to help them.”