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Auxiliaries bring residents together

Crime reduction and fellowship have come to the Virso community through two auxiliaries: the Virso Community and Recreation Center and the Virso Neighborhood Watch. Leigh District Supervisor Jerry Townsend recalls when the neighborhood watch began.

“This all started back years ago. (Prince Edward County Sheriff Wesley Reed) came, and he was saying that he’d like to initiate a neighborhood watch program, and he felt like I would be a good person, one of several good people, to maybe get that started,” Townsend said. “So we did, we got it up and going.”

Townsend said members of the watch went out and canvassed and got it going, “because at that time several years ago, the neighborhood, the community was growing.”

“We had new citizens moving into the neighborhood from out of state, relocating, and that neighborhood, the demographics had really changed, and the number of people living in Virso had increased,” Townsend said. “I was born and raised in the area and in the community, and as a young man growing up, I literally knew everyone that lived in that community, and most everybody did.”

He said you could count the people on your hands.

“You could name the families. But as time went on and on, that changed. Who lived here?” Townsend said. “We didn’t even know the people that lived in the area.”

He said crime was increasing in the area.

“One of the tremendous things the neighborhood watch initiated was the Annual Community Day. That was created through the neighborhood watch, and at one meeting it was discussed what can we do to get more of the residents in the area more involved with Neighborhood Watch?” Townsend said. “One of the members in attendance, Mr. Vincent Early, mentioned a gathering, a neighborhood gathering, and that gathering turned into an annual neighborhood watch community day where we all came together and fellowshipped with food, drink, music, games for the kids.”

He said it’s a time they get to engage, fellowship and get to know each other.

“One of the mottos we use is if you see something, report it, you know,” Townsend said. “It’s better to report it than to not report it and something happen, and also we need to look out for each other.”

He said the Virso Recreation and Community Center and Neighborhood Watch really work hand in glove.

“We support each other, each auxiliary supports each other in various social events,” Townsend said. “It’s really worked good for us. Sheriff Reed and his staff (have) really been supportive as far as supportive (for the) annual community day along with any other events we have in the community and also as patrolling happens as deputies patrol the area.”

He said the recreation center used to be a hangout place for young people, “And you know what young people do, but that now no longer occurs.”

He said the center is a tremendous, positive impact on the Virso community.

“I’m proud of it really, proud of the community center and proud of the members of the recreation center committee,” Townsend said. “They’re the ones who really made it happen, and the neighborhood watch is also a tremendous impact on the community.”

Townsend acknowledged the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors for donations given to the center.