It's A Wrap

Published 4:00 pm Thursday, December 30, 2010

January is wrap-up time in the newsroom, but before I tuck last year's file of stories away for future reference, I like to take a few minutes to review them. The stories from the Herald's Social/Lifestyles pages never fail to inspire – and 2010 was no exception.

January The New Year started off with a trio of stories on volunteering. Katherine Austin received national recognition, the Jefferson Award, for public service. “It's important to volunteer,” Katherine said. “It's nice to be involved.” SCOPE/Meals on Wheels was featured in a Martin Luther King National Day of Service story. Driving along winding country roads, MOW Director of Operations Hoke Currie commented, “Over 177,000 meals have been delivered since we started. Everyone should try volunteering – it's a good feeling.” Also this month, Longwood University Professor of Anthropology Dr. James Jordan volunteered his expertise as an advisor for an episode of the popular TV show Bones that aired Jan. 28. “There truly are mysteries in bones,” he concluded. “Everyone loves a good mystery.”

February The second month of 2010, continuing winter's snowy outlook, featured the story of a farmer's market open for business despite the cold and snow. Admittedly “vegetably-challenged” in mid-February, the Green Bay Market continued to offer winter vegetables, Amish baked good and crafts, local trout, and pasture-raised meat. With a long-range goal of turning the old Green Bay High School building on premises into a community arts center, Carolyn Patterson said, “If I had a mission statement it would be to provide a choice of quality products year-round.”

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March As the month of March looked hopefully toward spring, a group of dedicated church members at Zion Hill Baptist Church rolled up their sleeves and started a Community Outreach for earthquake victims in Haiti. The church shipped 25 barrels of food and supplies just weeks after the disaster occurred. “We put God in front of this thing from the start,” stated Daisy Granger, project organizer. By mid-March a group of Prince Edward firefighters were gearing up for their first 5K Fundraiser “Feet for Fire” to benefit all seven fire departments in the county. “The seven departments serve 22,000 people in Prince Edward with an average of 350 firefighters, all volunteer,” stated 5K Co-Chair Tracie Coleman. “We wanted something different from pancake suppers and spaghetti dinners.”

April The first month of spring was a busy one as Prince Edward Middle School students teamed up with Longwood University Men and Women's soccer teams to pack 10,000 meals for Haiti. Also in April Longwood's therapeutic recreation students shared their future occupational skills with individuals with disabilities in a semester-long pool program. “It's a mutual opportunity,” stated Dr. Susan Lynch, course instructor. “The students no longer see a person with a disability – they just see a person.” Also this month Hampden-Sydney College students took restorative justice from the classroom to Piedmont Regional Jail where they offered an eight-week course “Tips for a Successful Job Search. “It was a good experience for the H-SC men who are going to go out in the community to be leaders,” stated Claire Deal, course organizer.

May The month started off with the annual Heart of Virginia Festival, a sure sign that spring is here to stay. High school graduations kicked off with Fuqua School on May 21. “The best helping hand you're ever going to get is the one at the end of your arm,” stated commencement speaker Katherine Elam Busser. For Memorial Day the Herald published a special edition honoring the men whose names were etched on the Prince Edward County War Memorial. Among those honored was SSGT Franklin Roosevelt Watkins who died in Vietnam in 1967. “He volunteered to go so he could train other men,” stated his brother the Rev. Archard Watkins. “We were very close. It took me a long time to get over it.”

June Graduation stories continued in June with a feature on the Rev. Dr. Kitty Smith, director of HOPE Community Services and pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church, who received her doctorate degree at the age of 63. “My Saturdays were divided between schoolwork and getting a sermon ready for Sunday,” she related. For her doctoral thesis she chose the topic of reconciliation. “I ended my dissertation by saying that we have enemies who are only too happy to keep us divided,” Dr. Smith noted. “It's just time for us to move on, to start talking to each other.”

July Prime time for vacations, July offered a breath of Fresh Air for Marc Taylor, of the Bronx, NY, who spent his summer vacation with Lou and Gloria Capezza. The Fresh Air Fund, started in 1877, continues to provide New York's inner city children with an opportunity to spend a week in the country. “It's been wonderful having Marc here,” stated Gloria Capezza. Another memorable summer vacation was the cross-country bike trek of Andrew French who started at the Golden Gate Bridge in California on May 21 and completed his solo 3,600-mile ride at Yorktown July 17. “Biking across the country was a great experience,” the William & Mary senior stated. “It was not always pleasant, but I'm glad I did it.”

August The final month of summer was a community-minded one with the conclusion of the six-week Summer Enrichment Program for ages five to 13 that combined summer fun with educational opportunities. The Top Hand Cowboy Camp for boys and girls eight to 12 led by Cowboys for Christ combined old West excitement with Bible lessons. Also this month the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts partnered with Crossroads in presenting an exhibit, “Letters from Camp,” to display artwork of adults with disabilities.

September Thoughts of fall were in the air at Lib's Place, newly opened craft and fabric store in Rice. Co-owners Louisa Lackey and Linda Sue Lewis offer not only craft and fabric supplies, but also an array of classes and “how-to” sessions. “Crafters and quilters are unique – they love to talk about what they're doing,” stated Linda Lewis. “Really, it's the fellowship.” Also in September the Farmville Lions Club announced their Hearing Aid Program to assist those unable to afford hearing aids. The project, funded by a Payne Foundation grant, is already providing hearing assistance to the community.

October Autumn memories abounded in October with a celebration of Centenarians Day at The Woodland. Seven residents, all over 100 years old, were honored. “I've been wonderfully blessed,” said Mary Atkins, who turned 100 in July. Minnie Elliott, 101, added, “I thank God I can get up each morning and enjoy the day.” On Main Street, an historic discovery took place during the renovation of the jfergrson gallery. When the mansard roof on the building was removed, a facade of Farmville's Civil War-era train depot emerged. The building's current owner, Jarrod Fergeson, hopes to maintain the depot's historic past. “I think there are a lot of cultural opportunities here in Farmville,” he said.

November This month of holiday preparation began with two new books by local authors and a new business in an old Farmville home. Francis Wood's latest book, The Keeper of the Tree, offered a tribute to nature, while the Rev. William Thompson's Her Walls Before Thee Stand recorded the 235-year history of the Presbyterian congregation at Hampden-Sydney College. Also this month, mother and daughter, Ann and Janie Irons, shared their story of transforming a 100-year-old home on First Avenue into a bed and breakfast. On Nov. 19, a Birthday Celebration marking the 100th year of the First Avenue home and the first year of the new business was held. Everyone in the community was invited.

December Rounding out the year was a Christmas feature on Noah's Last Stop and owners Guy and Terry Brochard who plan to share their love of animals in a newly opened petting zoo. Expanding on their presentations to local school children, the Brochards now offer an up-close-and-personal look at everything from goats and donkeys to emus and llamas. “I'm crazy about all these creatures,” Guy Brochard said. “I always wanted to either own a zoo or work at one.”