May 2016


8 Traffic Deaths in 2016, Compared to 14 Over 2015 Holiday Weekend

RICHMOND – The 2016 Memorial Day holiday weekend proved safer for those traveling the highways of Virginia in comparison to the 2015 Memorial Day weekend. During the four-day statistical counting period, preliminary numbers report a total of eight drivers and passengers died in seven traffic crashes statewide this past holiday weekend. During the same time period in 2015, traffic crashes claimed a total of 14 lives on Virginia highways.

The seven traffic crashes occurred in the counties of Accomack, Amherst, Arlington, Henrico, New Kent, Pittsylvania and York. Monday’s single-vehicle crash (May 30, 2016) in Accomack County claimed the lives of both the driver and passenger. State troopers responded to and investigated a total of 847 traffic crashes statewide during the four-day statistical counting period.

“As encouraging as this decrease is in traffic deaths for the extended holiday weekend, we still have a great deal of work to do to save even more lives on Virginia’s highways,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We are on the cusp of the summer vacation and travel season, so we need all motorists to do their part in driving to save lives by buckling up, complying with speed limits, avoiding driving distractions, and never driving drunk or drugged. Drive like your life depends on it.”

Of the seven passenger vehicle fatalities over the holiday weekend, three of the drivers were not wearing seat belts. In addition, as part of the ongoing 2016 Click It or Ticket (CIOT) spring mobilization campaign, Virginia State Police troopers cited 913 safety belt violations and another 272 child safety seat violations. The two-week, concentrated CIOT educational and enforcement initiative began Monday, May 23, 2016, and runs through Sunday, June 5, 2016. The annual Click It or Ticket campaign combines high visibility enforcement of seat belt and child safety seat laws with outreach and education. 

Virginia State Police also participated over the holiday weekend the Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) traffic safety initiative that began 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 27, 2016, and concluded Monday, May 30, 2016, at midnight. The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays, like Memorial Day. The 2015 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 11,245 speeders and 2,678 reckless drivers. A total of 134 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

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Children of the counties of Brunswick, Greensville, and Sussex, as well as the city of Emporia, were recently given the opportunity to participate in a week-long literacy event hosted by The Improvement Association’s Parents as Teachers (PAT) initiative. The event, known as Readers Are Leaders, is a community-wide literacy program developed and implemented by LaWanda Fisher, Program Coordinator for The Improvement Association’s PAT initiative, and her team of parent educators.

“The Readers Are Leaders program was developed with three goals in mind,” said Fisher. “The first goal is to promote literacy. The second goal is to encourage parents to read more to their children, and the third is to encourage children to read more. We really try to promote book sharing with all the children within our service area, not just those enrolled in the PAT program.”
The Readers Are Leaders program debuted during The Week of the Young Child, which was celebrated April 11-15. Fisher organized several notable community figureheads to read at various locations throughout the service areas.

On Monday, April 11, Dr. Al Roberts, President of Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC), visited the children of Saint Paul’s Head Start and Child Development Center (CDC) in Brunswick County. On this day “History met History.” The first African American president of SVCC read to the children on the campus of St. Paul’s College, a historically black college. The Improvement Association kept St. Paul’s name affiliation for the child development center in efforts to maintain the legacy of St. Paul’s College.

On Tuesday, April 12, Brunswick County Sheriff B. K. Roberts visited Country Mouse Nursery School in Lawrenceville.

Also on Tuesday, April 12, Waverly Mayor Mariam Edwards visited the Head Start students at Wakefield ABC. “It makes my heart feel good to be involved with the young people. On behalf of the Town of Waverly, we thank The Improvement Association for allowing us to be a part of our future leaders”, stated Ms. Edwards.

On Wednesday, April 13, Mr. Williams Ricks, of The Improvement Association’s Project Discovery program in Sussex County, visited the children attending the Head Start program at Sussex Elementary.

Emporia Police Chief Rick Pinksaw visited children at two classrooms at Elnora Jarrell Worship Center Daycare on Thursday, April 14.

Greensville Sheriff Tim Jarrett also two classrooms at Footprints Daycare and Nursery in Emporia on Friday, April 15.

At Shiloh Baptist Church, home of The Improvement Association’s Head Start Shiloh location, Mr. Logan Tatum, Family Service Specialist for the Greensville and Emporia area, read to the children participating in the Head Start program on Friday, April 15.

Parents as Teachers is a FREE program for parents and guardians of children from birth up to five years old. PAT helps caretakers understand their role in encouraging their child’s development. It helps children prepare for Kindergarten and ensures they are meeting developmental milestones, as well as passing hearing and vision screenings. Parent Educators also provide information on prenatal health to encourage intellectual development, curiosity, and language development.

One on the main components of PAT is to provide families with books to read with, and to, their children. During the week-long Readers Are Leaders event, 160 books were distributed to the children. The PAT initiative is currently accepting book donations for the next Readers Are Leaders event to be tentatively scheduled in the fall.

“I’d like to encourage individuals, churches, area businesses, and social and civic groups to participate,” said Fisher. Books can be dropped off at any of The Improvement Association’s four office locations in Emporia, Dinwiddie, Lawrenceville, or Waverly. If your agency or organization would like to set up a donation center, please contact LaWanda Fisher at (434) 634-2490 ext. 227 for additional information.

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Organizations Announce Effort to Help Outdoor Cats Living at Naval Station Norfolk

Norfolk, Virginia, May 27, 2016 – The Norfolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) and a group of Hampton Roads animal advocates called Cat Team 7 have entered into an agreement with the U.S. Navy to help cats living outside and unowned at Naval Station Norfolk (NSN), the world’s largest naval base. The cats will be placed with community members owning barns or stables who will provide care for the felines in such an indoor/outdoor environment. People owning breweries, distilleries, vineyards or warehouses may also be considered for appropriate placements.

All who agree to provide loving oversight will receive at least one cat from the naval base. They also will greatly enhance the lives of the cats while gaining rodent control experts.
This initiative started once the Norfolk SPCA was made aware of the large number of outdoor cats living on NSN. Military policy forbids feeding the cats as well as assisting them via a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program because stray companion animals are not permitted on military property.

Recently, however, Cat Team 7 leaders reached out to leaders of NSN to determine if the Navy would permit humanely trapping the cats, so they could be sterilized and given a rabies vaccine at the Norfolk SPCA’s public veterinary clinic, which assists thousands of feral cats in local TNR programs. The cats from the naval base would not be returned to their current outdoor home, as is typical with TNR, but, instead, relocated for an outdoor existence with a screened and approved adopter elsewhere in Virginia. The group will attempt to find homes for kittens and cats who are sociable.
“We just had to see if Naval Station Norfolk wanted to be part of an effort that would make them the most humane naval base in the world,” said Caitlyn McIntosh, Cat Team 7 Project Coordinator. “Partnering with Norfolk SPCA and Naval Station Norfolk has been amazing and this is only the beginning.”

Cat Team 7 volunteers—the majority of whom are current or former members of the military or are spouses of service members—will receive trapped cats from the Navy, arrange the spay/neuter surgeries, and transport cats with needed equipment to ensure successful relocations. Feral cat relocations are not always successful and take two to four weeks of caring for the cats indoors in a cage or pen to ensure cats accept the new location as a home.

“We are thrilled that the U.S. Navy has agreed to this trap-neuter-relocate effort and we heartily thank the leadership at Naval Station Norfolk for partnering with us to launch this program,” said Rob Blizard, Norfolk SPCA Executive Director. “The potential for improving the lives of these cats and their kittens—by stopping the cycle of reproduction and finding them a caring home—is enormous.”

The effort to trap-neuter-relocate at NSN began in May. The Norfolk SPCA and Cat Team 7 will be updating the public on a regular basis on the results of the program in hopes of encouraging similar tests at other military installations in Hampton Roads and even nationwide.

Anyone interested in giving a home to an outdoor cat from the Naval Station Norfolk should contact Cat Team 7 at 571-423-9200 or More information about TNR is available at the Norfolk SPCA website.

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Local Student Adwarded Comcast Scholorship


Annual Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program Recognizes Students’ Leadership Skills, Academic Achievement and Commitment to Community Service

RICHMOND, VA – May 26, 2016 – Comcast today announced that is has awarded $75,000 in scholarships for the 2016-17 school year to 66 Virginia high school students as part of its annual Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program.  The program, funded by the Comcast Foundation, recognizes students who strive to achieve their potential, who are catalysts for positive change in their communities, who are involved in their schools, and who serve as models for their fellow students.

"As leaders in their schools and communities, these students represent the best our Commonwealth has to offer,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe.  “Thanks to partners like Comcast, we can help ensure that these young people have a bright future and that they are well prepared to become the next generation of exceptional leaders.”

Comcast, joined by Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia Karen R. Jackson and school administrators, recognized the students at a special event held Wednesday, May 25, at the Virginia State Capitol. Sixty-five recipients of the 2016 Virginia Leaders and Achievers® scholarships received $1,000 scholarships. Tianna Jordan, a senior at Charlottesville High School was awarded a $10,000 Comcast Founders Scholarship – instituted in honor of Ralph J. Roberts, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Comcast Corporation – for a total of $75,000 awarded this year to Virginia high school students.

“I am highly impressed by these outstanding students,” said Jackson.  “Not only are they committed to academic excellence, but also to ensuring their communities prosper.  It is inspiring to witness their commitment and drive and I wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.”

“We are honored to recognize the accomplishments of these Leaders and Achievers Scholarship winners.  They demonstrate leadership in school activities and share a strong commitment to community service,” said Mary McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Beltway Region. “We are excited to support them as they prepare for the next chapter in their educational careers.”

Comcast’s Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program gives young people every opportunity to prepare for the future and to engage them in their communities. The program also demonstrates the importance of civic involvement, and the value placed on civic involvement by the business community.

To date, Comcast has awarded more than $25 million to nearly 25,000 high school seniors across the country as part of the Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program.

2016 Comcast Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Recipients from Virginia

Albemarle County

  • Kai Millner of Albemarle High School
  • William Livermon of Western Albemarle High School


  • Nicole Gray of St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School


  • Jose Alvarenga of Arlington Mill High School Continuation Program
  • Hajira Aslam of Wakefield High School
  • Marisa Sydnor of Washington-Lee High School

Augusta County

  • Kaitlyn Bahrs of Riverheads High School in Staunton


  • Tianna Jordan of Charlottesville High School

Chesterfield County

  • Fred Shuford of Cosby High School in Midlothian
  • Jaylon Brooks of James River High School in Midlothian
  • Jonas Kee of L.C. Bird High School
  • Hope Parker of Manchester High School in Midlothian
  • Jasmine Hires of Matoaca High School
  • Ruth Flores of Meadowbrook High School
  • Francesca Urcia of Midlothian High School
  • Kaylea Armstrong of Monacan High School
  • Rebecca Hall of Thomas Dale High School in Chester


  • Trystan Wiggins of Galileo Magnet High School
  • Lily Hungarland of George Washington High School

Dinwiddie County

  • Jasmine Pope of Dinwiddie High School


  • Tiffany Posey of Greensville County High School

Fairfax County

  • Madeleine Cochrane of South Lakes High School in Reston

Frederick County

  • Cana Curtis of Sherando High School in Stephens City

Hanover County

  • Evan Day of Hanover High School in Mechanicsville


  • Kayla Leaman of Harrisonburg High School

Henrico County

  • Lindsey Shavers of Henrico High School
  • Julia McKinnon of Highland Springs High School
  • Annemarie Beran of John Randolph Tucker High School
  • Bailee Hancock of Varina High School


  • Jamarian Easter of Hopewell High School

King William County

  • Destiny Coleman of King William High School

Loudoun County

  • Kyle Enriquez of Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn


  • Olivia Stuckey of Brookville High School
  • Annie Eick of Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology


  • Mary Cuccinelli of Seton School

Manassas Park

  • Katherine Gaouette of Manassas Park High School


  • Erin Perry of Appomattox Regional Governor's School
  • Jasmine Fobbs of Petersburg Public High School

Pittsylvania County

  • Humza Qazi of Chatham High School

Powhatan County

  • Stephanie Washburn of Powhatan High School

Prince George County

  • Marcey Jiles of Prince George High School
  • Prince William County
  • Steven Tian of Battlefield High School in Haymarket
  • Samantha O’Connor of Potomac Senior High School in Dumfries
  • Jaelyn Demory of Woodbridge Senior High School


  • Kahlil Newsome of Armstrong High School
  • Monique Ross of Franklin Military Academy
  • Derrick Wang of Maggie L. Walker Governor's School
  • Kourtney Bugg of Open High School
  • Keaja Jefferson of Richmond Community High School
  • Samantha Conway of St. Catherines School
  • Colin Knight of St. Christopher's School
  • Emma Farmer of St. Gertrude High School
  • Ahmed Woodson of Thomas Jefferson High School
  • Precious Smith of Victory Christian Academy

Rockingham County

  • Michelle De La Cruz of Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater


  • Brittany Owens of Salem High School

Smyth County

  • Daisy Sturgill of Marion Senior High School


  • Kathryn Cardenas of North Stafford High School

Sussex County

  • Brittany Chambliss of Sussex Central High School

Washington County

  • Emily Stinson of Abingdon High School
  • Margaret Melton of John S. Battle High School in Bristol
  • Sam Caudill of Patrick Henry High School in Glade Spring


  • Danna Gallego-Garcia of Waynesboro High School


  • Habebah Mounib of John Handley High School
  • Lauren Brocious of Millbrook High School

Wise County

  • Ethan Elkins of Central High School in Norton

Connect with the scholarship winners at Explore and “like” Comcast in the community at

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program is one of the many ways that Comcast gives back to the communities we serve. Click here to learn more.

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Federal grant expected to create 1,191 jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced that the Greensville County Water and Sewer Authority will receive $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) for infrastructure improvements to support development of the Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center in Greensville County.

“We are pleased to see the federal government partner with local authorities to provide Virginians with better public services while creating jobs for Greensville County,” said Warner and Kaine.

The Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center is one of Virginia’s primary mega-site developments. The improvements will help strengthen and enhance diversification of the region’s advanced manufacturing cluster, boost new commercial and industrial development, and create opportunities for job creation in the region. According to the EDA, the project is expected to create 1,191 jobs.

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RICHMOND – With the start of the 2016 Click It or Ticket (CIOT) spring mobilization campaign, the Virginia State Police is taking this opportunity to remind motorists of the need to always buckle up when driving and/or riding in a vehicle. The two-week, concentrated educational and enforcement initiative began Monday, May 23, 2016, and runs through Sunday, June 5, 2016. The annual Click It or Ticket campaign combines high visibility enforcement of seat belt and child safety seat laws with outreach and education. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), those who use a seat belt are 45 percent less likely to be fatally injured in a crash. In addition, if all passenger vehicle occupants age 5 and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts, an additional 2,814 lives could have been saved in 2014 alone nationwide.

Virginia’s statewide seat belt use rate was 80.9 percent in 2015, 77.3 percent in 2014, 79.7 percent in 2013 and 78.4 percent in 2012. The 310 unrestrained fatalities in Virginia last year represent 41 percent of the 753 total traffic fatalities.

“The state police cannot stress enough the importance of always using a seat belt when on the road,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Buckling up takes just seconds of you and your passengers’ time and yet can make the difference of a lifetime if and when one is involved in a crash. As we head into the Memorial Day weekend and summer travel season, all motorists are reminded to #DrivetoSaveLives whether it’s to school, work, the store, the beach or the mountains. Drive like your life depends on it.”

Since the 2016 Memorial Day holiday weekend falls within this year’s CIOT campaign, state police troopers will be even more vigilant in their efforts to increase seat belt usage among adults, teenagers and children. Occupant restraint enforcement is a key component of the Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) traffic safety initiative that begins 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 27, 2016, and concludes Monday, May 30, 2016, at midnight. The state-sponsored, national program encourages law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and traffic enforcement efforts on major travel holidays, like Memorial Day. The program also means that all available Virginia State Police troopers will be on patrol through the holiday weekend.

The 2015 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 1,314 individuals who failed to obey the law and buckle up, as well as issuing 403 citations for child safety seat violations on Virginia’s highways statewide. In addition, state police cited 13,728 speeders and 3,452 reckless drivers. A total of 142 drunken drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers.

There were 14 traffic fatalities statewide during last year’s four-day statistical counting period for Memorial Day weekend. In 2014, there were eight traffic deaths and, in 2013, Virginia experienced nine fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the holiday weekend.*

With additional troopers and other law enforcement working on Virginia’s highways this holiday weekend, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law. A life-saving law intended to protect public safety responders and others who have a responsibility to work the roads. Drivers are required to change to another travel lane or, when unable to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road. The law also includes highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks equipped with flashing amber lights.


Honor Graduates of Brunswick Academy

Honor Graduates, wearing gold cord and tassel, have a 95 or above cumulative average throughout their High School years.  

L-R:  Grant Edward Bradley (JMU), Ashley Ann Clary (UVA), Dallas Dwayne Hawthorne (UVA) and Garrett Paul Ramsey (Hampden-Sydney College)

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11 Brunswick Academy Graduates Children of Alumni

Edmund Tyler James Baird, son of Nelson Craig Baird, Class of 1993 and Grandson of Rita Edwards Baird, Class of 1972.

Ashley Ann Clary, daughter of Ricky Earle Clary, Class of 1981.

Makayla Julie-Ann Clary, daughter of Daryl Peebles Clary, Class of 1982.

Larissa Elise Conner, daughter of Charles Anthony Conner, Class of 1985.

Taylor Rene Daniel, daughter of Kevin Travis Daniel, Class of 1986.

Madison Marie Fajna, daughter of Dathan Jerry Fajna, Class of 1985.

Hannah Gayle Glenn, daughter of Amy Gayle Green Glenn, Class of 1988.

Charles Isaac Gregory, III., son of Charles Isaac Gregory, Jr., Class of 1979.

Dallas Dwayne Hawthorne, son of Belinda Wrenn Hawthorne, Class of 1981 and Dwayne Hawthorne, Class of 1981. 

Autumn Page Hyde, daughter of Robin Braddy Hyde, Class of 1984 and Aubrey W. Hyde, Jr., Class of 1980. 

Kenneth Cole Williams, son of Kim Clary Williams, Class of 1980. 

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Johnny Pascal Bowen

7/8/1926 - 5/20/2016

Memorial Service, 2:00 pm, Thursday, May 26, 2016, at Independence United Methodist Church.

Johnny Pascal Bowen, 89, of Emporia, VA passed away on May 20, 2016. He was predeceased by his parents, Joseph Alexander Bowen and Daisy Newsome Bowen. He is survived by his wife, Marie Doyle Bowen; son, Gary P. Bowen and wife Lynette of Naples, FL; daughter, Nancy B. Pernell of Emporia, VA; grandchildren, John A. Pernell and Matthew P. Pernell; sisters, Ethel Gauldin and Nellie Roberts and numerous nieces and nephews. Mr. Bowen was member of Widows and Sons Masonic Lodge, Independence United Methodist Church, and a charter member and life member of Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad. He had a large family he truly loved and they loved him in return. A memorial service will be held 2:00pm, Thursday, May 26, at Independence United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad, Crater Community Hospice, or Independence United Methodist Church. Condolences may be made to

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine today introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would prevent the Department of Defense (DoD) from privatizing commissaries at five major installations until a study, requested in last year’s NDAA, to assess the costs and benefits of privatization is completed and properly taken into consideration by Congress.

“It would be imprudent for Congress to authorize this privatization of commissaries – possibly jeopardizing an important benefit for our military men and women, their families, as well as retired servicemembers – before receiving the thorough study on the potential impacts as requested in last year’s NDAA,” said Warner and Kaine.

The following Senators joined Warner and Kaine in introducing the amendment: U.S. Sens. John Boozman (R-AR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (R-OK), Edward Markey (D-MA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tom Udall (D-NM), David Vitter (R-LA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

The Senate’s NDAA for Fiscal Year 2016, as passed out of committee on May 14, 2015, included language that sought to launch a pilot program to begin the privatization of military commissaries at five locations. Specifically, the amendment:

  • Required a study on the impact privatizing commissaries would have on military families before a pilot program could be implemented and would look at modifications to the commissary system, common business processes, privatization in whole or in part, analysis of different pricing constructs and impacts on MWR programs.
  • Required a comptroller-general assessment of the plan no later than 120 days after the report is submitted.

The amendment was adopted on the Senate floor and included in the final NDAA signed into law by the President last year.

The requested study is currently underway but has not been completed at the time of this press release. This year’s amendment would block language in the Senate bill that, once again, seeks to begin the process of privatization, and would restrict any such action until completion of the study and thorough review by Congress.

The following 43 organizations are opposed to the privatization language currently in the bill:

  • Air Force Sergeants Association
  • American Federation of Government Employees
  • American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations Teamsters
  • American Legion
  • American Logistics Association
  • American Military Retirees Association
  • American Military Society
  • American Retirees Association
  • American Veterans
  • Armed Forces Marketing Council
  • Army and Navy Union
  • Association of the United States Army
  • Association of the United States Navy
  • Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States
  • Fleet Reserve Association
  • Gold Star Widows
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
  • Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
  • Military Officers Association of America
  • Military Order of Foreign Wars
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart
  • National Association for Uniformed Services
  • National Defense Committee
  • National Guard Association of the United States
  • National Industries for the Blind
  • National Military Family Association
  • National Military and Veterans Alliance
  • Naval Enlisted Reserve Association
  • Military Partners and Families Coalition
  • Reserve Officer Association
  • Society of Military Widows
  • The American Military Partner Association
  • The Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefits
  • The Flag and General Officers Network
  • The Retired Enlisted Association
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
  • Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees
  • United States Army Warrant Officers Association
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Vietnam Veterans of America

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FArm Service Agency County Committee Workshop

The Greensville County FSA Office has scheduled a Public Workshop on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm at the Greensville USDA Service Center located at 706 South Main Street, Emporia, Virginia 23847.

This informative meeting will explain; the general role of FSA in the community; COC committee role and responsibilities; the ballot and voting process and the voter eligibility and how the elections are held.

Person with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in this meeting should contact Melvin E. Hill, Jr. at 434-634-2462 Ext.2 or Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 by June 3, 2016.



RICHMOND – The men and women of the Virginia State Police and their families will gather together Thursday, May 26, 2016, to honor those public safety professionals who have given the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the Commonwealth of Virginia. During the 2016 Virginia State Police Law Enforcement Memorial Service, special recognition will be given to Trooper Nathan-Michael W. Smith, 27, who died in the line of duty Sept. 21, 2015, in Prince George County; and Trooper Chad P. Dermyer, 37, who lost his life March 31, 2016, in the City of Richmond. The Honorable Lamont Bagby of the Virginia House of Delegates will provide the ceremony’s keynote address.

A poignant part of the service will be the unveiling and dedication of Trooper Smith’s portrait before his family and fellow troopers. Following the ceremony, Trooper Smith’s portrait will be hung in the Colonel C.W. Woodson Jr. Memorial Gallery located within the Virginia State Police Academy. The gallery already holds the portraits of the state police’s other 60 courageous men and women who died in the line-of-duty while serving the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Trooper Smith died after his vehicle crashed on an Interstate 295 exit ramp in Prince George County. Trooper Smith was responding to an emergency request for assistance at a fatal crash scene in Dinwiddie County.

The service will recognize all of the Department’s law enforcement professionals who have died in the line of duty, to include a special tribute to the following 13 troopers in which 2016 marks a significant passage of time":

5 Years:           Trooper Adam M. Bowen                   (2011-King George Co.)*

10 Years:         Sr. Trooper Robert A. Hill, Sr.           (2006 - Southampton Co.)

10 Years:         Trooper Kevin C. Manion                   (2006 - Clarke Co.)

20 Years:         Trooper Gregory P. Fleenor               (1996 - Hanover Co.)

30 Years:         Trooper Ricky M. McCoy                   (1986 - Salem)

35 Years:         Trooper Robin L. Farmer                    (1981-  Caroline Co.)

40 Years:         Trooper Bernard W. Wright                (1976 - Halifax Co.)

40 Years:         Trooper Garland W. Fisher, Jr.           (1976 - Durham, N.C.)

60 Years:         Trooper Henry M. Brooks, Jr.            (1956 - Pittsylvania Co.)

65 Years:         Trooper Robert Wright Smith             (1951 – Pamplin)

65 Years:         Investigator Wallace M. Simpson       (1951 - Petersburg)

70 Years:         Trooper William H. Andrews               (1946 - Nottoway Co.)

75   Years:        Trooper Urshell T. Mayo                     (1941 - Hampton)

*Year & Location of Death

Each tribute includes a single bell toll and an Honor Guard salute.


Virginia State Police 2016 Police Officers’ Memorial Service

Date: Thursday, May 26, 2016                           

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Location: VSP Gymnasium

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Bandit Steals “Best in Show”

There were 21 fiercely adorable competitors at the Seventh Annual Doggie Fashion Show and Luncheon on Saturday, but there could only be one “Best-in-Show.”

Best-In-Show Bandit Day

This year’s “Best-in-Show” was Bandit Day, a two year old Australian Cattle Dog (AKA Blue Healer) owned and shown by Debra Day.  Bandit is “Blue Roan” and weighs in at 40 pounds.  Bandit is a high energy dog and needed a job, so his family introduced him to fetching the ball as a puppy and it is now his life’s passion.  The breed is often called “Shadow Dogs,” since they are always at your side; Bandit lives up to this name and is always beside his mom.  One of his favorite things to do is go to Tractor Supply with his mom, where he knows he will be petted and treats will be waiting. Bandit was selected as the Best Medium Breed before going on to the big victory.




First and Second Runners-up Mitus (left) Crawford and Goldie Rumplik

The First Runner Up and Best Large Breed was Mitus Crawford, a two year old Dogo Argintine, owned by Megan Crawford and Travis Keeter. Mitus was shown by one of his owners, Megan.  Mitus weighs 80 pounds and was adopted by his family last June.  Mitus was also the rarest breed in this year’s show.  Mitus loves to chase deer and rabbit, but his favorite things are sleeping in the bed and cheese sticks.  Mitus Loves Cheese Sticks.  If you were to judge him by his size, you would likely expect him to be ruff and tuff, but he is just the opposite: gentle and sweet.

The second runner up and Best Small Breed was Goldie Rumplik, a Doxie mix owned and shown by Marlo Rumplik. Goldie is brown and white 2 year old and weighs 6 pounds.  Goldie likes to take naps and be with her mom and dad.  She also loves to cuddle and be loved.  Her favorite thing to do is stretch out with her hind feet behind her and sunbathe.  Goldie is a real show off when she wants attention.

Judging this year’s contestants were Matthew Gray, Lucy Metcalf, Michelle Wilson and Robin McVoy.  The show was, once again, emceed by Cleve “The Bull” Baker.

The Doggie Fashion Show is the largest fund raiser for the Emporia-Greensville Humane Society.  According to Peggy Malone, the money raised by the Doggie Fashion Show “goes to benefit the animals.  The Doggie Show has made it possible to continue to do our work for the animals.”

This year’s Doggie Fashion Show was dedicated to the memory of long time EGHS supporter and animal lover Eugene F. Rae, who passed earlier this year.

Major sponsors for this year’s show were Jones LTC Pharmacy, Parker Oil Company, Paws & Purrs, PetSense, Jon’s Glass, Davis Body Shop, Good Earth Peanut Company and Peggy B. Malone Insurance.

While this weekend’s event was the seventh annual, this month also marks the 12 year anniversary of the Emporia-Greensville Humane Society.

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800,000 Acres of Land Conserved

More Than 800,000 Acres Selected Through Highly Competitive Application Rounds

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the enrollment of more than 800,000 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Through CRP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) helps farmers offset the costs of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and strengthen wildlife habitat. Farmers’ and ranchers’ participation in CRP continues to provide numerous benefits to our nation, including helping reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases and providing resiliency to future weather changes .

“The Conservation Reserve Program provides nearly $2 billion annually to land owners – dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs.  When these direct benefits are taken together with the resulting economic activity, the benefits related to CRP are estimated at $3.1 billion annually,” said Vilsack. “Over the past 30 years, CRP has created major environmental improvements throughout the countryside. The program has removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere equal to removing nine million cars from the road annually, and prevented 600 million dump trucks of soil from erosion. With today’s announcement, USDA is continuing these achievements by maximizing conservation benefits within the limitations provided by law.”

This was one of the most selective sign-up periods in CRP’s 30-year history, with a record high Environmental Benefits Index cut-off and the lowest-percentage of applications accepted. The high bar means that the per-acre conservation benefits are being maximized and that acres enrolled address multiple conservation priorities simultaneously.

A nationwide acreage limit was established for this program in the 2014 Farm Bill, capping the total number of acres that may be enrolled at 24 million for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. At the same time, USDA has experienced a record demand from farmers and ranchers interested in participating in the voluntary program. As of March 2016, 23.8 million acres were enrolled in CRP, with 1.7 million acres set to expire this fall.

Over three million acres have been offered for enrollment this year across the three main categories within CRP, with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) receiving over 26,000 offers to enroll more than 1.8 million acres during the general enrollment period, and over 4,600 offers to enroll more than one million acres in the new CRP Grasslands program. Coming off a record-setting 2015 continuous enrollment of over 860,000 acres, more than 364,000 acres already have been accepted for 2016 in the CRP continuous enrollment, triple the pace of last year.

FSA will accept 411,000 acres in general enrollment, the most competitive selection in in the history of the program, with the acreage providing record high conservation benefits. USDA selected offers by weighing environmental factors plus cost, including wildlife enhancement, water quality, soil erosion, enduring benefits, and air quality.

The results of the first-ever enrollment period for CRP Grasslands, FSA will also accept 101,000 acres in the program, providing participants with financial assistance for establishing approved grasses, trees and shrubs on pasture and rangeland that can continue to be grazed.  More than 70 percent of these acres are diverse native grasslands under threat of conversion, and more than 97 percent of the acres have a new, veteran or underserved farmer or rancher as a primary producer. FSA continues to accept CRP Grasslands offers and will conduct another ranking period later this year. Acres are ranked according to current and future use, new and underserved producer involvement, maximum grassland preservation, vegetative cover, pollinator habitat and various other environmental factors.

Participants in CRP establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance.  Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years.

CRP is currently protecting more than 100,000 acres of bottomland hardwood trees, nearly 300,000 acres of flood-plain wetlands, and 300,000 acres each for duck nesting habitat and nearly 250,000 acres of upland bird habitat. In addition, CRP is creating economic benefits that include at least $545 million per year in recreation benefits and water quality benefits from reduced sedimentation of $587 million per year.

Throughout the Obama Administration, USDA has generated thousands of critical partnerships to conserve and protect our natural resources on working landscapes, while enrolling a record number of acres in conservation programs. Seventy-percent of the nation’s land is owned and tended to privately, and America’s farmers, ranchers and landowners have willingly stepped up to address the growing impacts of a changing climate. With USDA’s support, they work to implement voluntary practices that improve air and water quality, prevent soil erosion and create and protect wildlife habitat.

Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $29 billion to help producers make conservation improvements, working with as many as 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect land and water on over 400 million acres nationwide.

To learn more about FSA’s conservation programs, visit contact a local FSA county office. To find your local FSA county office, visit

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Strokes Among Young Adults on Dramatic Rise

EMPORIA, VA(May 23, 2016)– While recent years have seen an overall decline in the number of strokes in the U.S., research published in the American Academy of Neurology Journal suggests the number of strokes among younger adults is actually on the rise, with about one in five victims now below the age of 55.

“Since the mid-1990’s, the number of strokes in younger adults has increased by approximately 53 percent,” said Dr. Saqib Shah, Medical Director of Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department. “This trend is alarming in the impact it has on young families, when a parent who suffers a stroke is often physically and economically disabled before or during their most productive years.”

Experts attribute several factors to the increased incidence of stroke in young adults, with the greatest focus around the issue of obesity. A study of more than 2,300 people in the Baltimore area indicated that obese young adults were 57 percent more likely to experience a stroke than their non-obese peers. Much of that increased risk might be connected to the co-conditions often tied to obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking.

“Even though more than a half million young adults suffer annually from a stroke, 73% of those interviewed indicated they would NOT seek treatment at a hospital when faced with the classic symptoms,” said Dr. Shah. “Nearly three in four stated they would opt to ‘wait and see’ if their weakness, numbness or impaired vision symptoms went away on their own. This is a lack of awareness that can lead to devastating results.”

Medical experts agree that medical treatment must be delivered for a stroke within three hours of the first symptom. This is the window during which treatment can minimize or even reverse brain damage. A lack of awareness results in patients that don’t seek immediate treatment. But to date, only limited public health and research efforts have been dedicated to addressing stroke in young adults.

The authors of one study suggest people should memorize the acronym “FAST”, which stands for:  Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty; Time to Call 911.

Many, though not all, strokes are preventable through simple but critical lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight, ensuring a daily dose of physical activity, controlling blood pressure, controlling blood sugar if you are diabetic and refraining from smoking are considered the most effective means of avoiding the devastation of a stroke. 

The skilled staff of Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center’s rehabilitation department provides inpatient and outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy to stroke patients, all designed to help them regain their independence and get back to work, play and their lives. Call (434)348-4871 to learn more about these services.

For more information about stroke symptoms or to find a physician who can help you craft a prevention plan, visit

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Exercise Can Be the Best Medicine

The Erin Robinson Story

Erin Robinson, a young, ambitious 21 year old from South Hill, VA had graduated from Longwood University in May of 2015 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and decided to enroll in a Master’s program the fall of 2015.  Only a couple months after her college graduation Erin started to feel nauseous constantly along with occasional dizziness.  Erin would not make it to a class that next semester and here is why.

In July of 2015, Erin went to see a gastroenterologist in Richmond, VA where she endured tests for hours.   After the initial tests, she was diagnosed with gastroparesisGastroparesis is a condition in which your stomach cannot empty itself of food in a normal fashion. Often, the cause of gastroparesis is unknown.

Erin’s sister, Nicole Dugger of Brodnax, researched the disease and got Erin an appointment with one the best gastroparesis doctors in the country, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An assistant in the office talked to Erin for an hour and the doctor came in for about five minutes and instructed the nurses to take five vials of blood to test.  When the tests came back there was no change in the diagnosis.  Erin still felt sick and was seeking help from a different physician.

Determined to get help for her sister, Nichole begged the office staff of a doctor in Winston-Salem, NC, whom was also touted as one of the top gastroparesis doctors in the country, to see Erin as quickly as possible.  Her plea for help was granted as Erin was seen by the doctor in October of 2015. 

The doctor in Winston-Salem ran more tests on Erin, one being a stomach emptying test, along with a radioactive trace test.  (The radioactive trace test takes a picture of someone’s stomach every hour for four hours.) The results from the tests showed that her stomach was fine. Erin was told she could go back to eating regular foods, but when she attempted it, she was still severely nauseous.  So, more tests were needed to be done to figure out what was causing the painful nausea.

Erin traveled again to Winston-Salem where the doctor put her on a tilt-table test.  For this test she had to lay flat for five minutes, strapped in (because many people in her condition faint), as they kept her standing for 30 minutes and watched her blood pressure and heart rate.  During the test Erin was lightheaded, dizzy and saw white spots.  Her heart rate rose to 156 beats per minute, just from laying to standing.

Two weeks after the tilt-table test, the doctor diagnosed Erin with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).  POTS is a condition in which a change from the laying position to an upright position causes an abnormally large increase in heart rate, called tachycardia. The causes of POTS are poorly understood, and it is likely that several distinct underlying problems can lead to the symptoms

All Erin would have to do was take salt tablets and her severe nausea would subside.  But, another problem occurred as Erin couldn’t keep the tablets down.  Erin tried multiple times to take the salt tablets but vomiting occurred each time.

While still dealing with vomiting, nausea, hunger and dizziness, Erin was sent to a cardiologist by her doctor in Winston-Salem.  Erin said that the cardiologist gave her an article to read and said he couldn’t help her.  Still without any relief of her symptoms, Erin did more research and found a POTS specialist at VCU Medical Center in Richmond, VA named Dr. Sica.

Erin’s mother called Dr. Sica’s office attempting to get an appointment but to her disdain the earliest time her daughter could be seen was months out.  So, the desperate mother called Dr. Sica and in tears, explained her daughter’s story, how she had been in pain for months and that she just wanted to find someone who could help her.  After the call, Erin got an appointment the next day. 

Dr. Sica decided to give Erin a medication that would help her to retain salt, instead of taking salt tablets that she couldn’t keep down.  At first this didn’t exactly work as planned as it made Erin very dehydrated, which eventually lead to home health coming in to give Erin fluids though IV lines.  Erin stated that at this point her spirit was fading because she couldn’t believe she needed someone to come into her home to take care of her at such a young age. 

Erin stated that she constantly read Proverbs 3:5 from the Bible that said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."  IV lines would take hours to be inserted because of her dehydration, so Erin believed that it had to be a better way to treat her symptoms.

At this point, Erin was seeing improvements with her new medication and the IV fluids.  She was only nauseous about every other day, she was able to eat minimally and felt stronger, especially after drinking her mother’s special concoction consisting of coconut water, lemons, limes, oranges, honey, sugar and salt.

Seeing improvement in Erin’s health, Dr. Sica told his young patient that to be able to function normally she needed to improve her strength through specialty exercise, which in-turn will reduce her dizziness when standing.  Convenient for Erin, there was an exercise center located close to her in South Hill, the Hendrick Cancer and Rehab Center of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.  

Erin’s first exercise experience started in Water Aerobics twice a week with instructor Rhonda Campbell.  Erin said, “Rhonda was fantastic to work with, she showed me exercises that were just for me.  She genuinely cared about my well-being.”  Also at the rehab center is where Erin met Kimberly Brown, Exercise Physiologist for VCU Health CMH, and “Kim in the gym” (as she calls her) created an exercise plan specifically tailored for Erin’s condition each visit while monitoring her heart rate.   Over a six month span Erin went from not being able to get out of her bed to now exercising five days a week with Kim.

During a February, 2016 visit with Dr. Sica at VCU in Richmond, Erin was told that she was showing vast improvement and the doctor recommended increasing her work-out time from 60 minutes per day to 90 minutes per day.  Even though POTS is not curable the symptoms can be controlled and through medication and exercise Erin has been able to thrive.

Kimberly Brown, Exercise Physiologist for VCU Health CMH said, “Erin’s mindset of developing a healthy self from the inside out was extremely positive. She didn’t focus on what she had to give up; instead, she focused on what she had to gain. This determination will carry her above and beyond with great success.”

Erin stated, “The staff at the Hendrick Cancer and Rehab center are phenomenal, they go above and beyond expectations.  I would highly recommend the center to anyone.  They motivate me and with their help I feel fantastic.”  Erin also said, “I want to thank my family for being there for me and helping me get through this tough time in my life; my sister, Nicole Dugger of Brodnax, my parents Terry and Martin Robinson of South Hill, Nancy Carey of South Hill and my boyfriend, Brian James of LaCrosse.”

Donna F. Jarrell, VCU Health CMH Rehab Director said, “The Hendrick Cancer & Rehab Center was built with the intention to benefit the people of our community, people just like Erin Robinson.  We are much more than a gym; we are a medical fitness center dedicated to practicing the concept of exercise is actual medicine.  We believe that exercise is one of the best prescription medicines that people can take and that a person needs to participate in the right type of exercise for the right amount of time and at the correct intensity to obtain the best results.  Staying abreast of and implementing the latest scientific based exercise prescriptions is what we specialize in.”

Erin will be attending Longwood University in the fall of 2016, working towards the completion of a Master’s Degree in the field of counseling.  According to Erin, POTS is an under-diagnosed condition that is sometimes misinterpreted as anxiety.  She hopes her story will spread awareness for POTS and inspire those suffering from the condition to take control of the syndrome and find their path to a healthier life.  Erin is now back on pace in following her dreams and it was all made possible by a doctor who cared, a family who wouldn’t give up, an exercise staff that truly believed, a tremendous will to get better and her unyielding faith.

Photo (L to R):

Erin Robinson is pictured with Kimberly Brown, Exercise Physiologist at the Hendrick Cancer & Rehab Center of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill.

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Shawn Keith “Skip” Penley

March 09, 1992-May 21, 2016

Visitation: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 6-8 pm.  funeral Service: Thursday, May 26, 2016 2 pm.

Shawn Keith “Skip” Penley, 24, passed away Saturday, May 21, 2016. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Reid Boone Trail; paternal grandparents, Donna Gene Penley and Lionel Drace Penley and uncle, William Reid Trail. Skip is survived by his parents, Keith Douglas Penley and Donna Trail Penley; sisters, Katie Penley Wrenn and husband, Robert and Betty Anne Ramsey and husband, Jason; brother, Michael Ray Cousins and companion Cathy Butler and their children, Sonya Phillips and William Perkinson; his grandmother, Betty Trail; aunt Vickie Mollicone; uncle, David Penley and cousins, Vincent Mollicone and companion, Taylor Riley, Jennifer Jensen Walker, Josh Jensen and Drace Penley and lifelong friends, Ginger Beatty and Jamie King The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia where the funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Thursday, May 26. . Interment will follow at Drewryville Cemetery

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Meherrin Regional Library Announces Summer Reading Program

The Meherrin Regional Library System urges families to get ready, get set, go to the library and sign up for Read–For the Win!

Meherrin Regional Library System launches its Read–For the Win! Summer Reading Program with sign up starting on Wednesday, June 1st. During the next two months, the library will host a range of free activities for children and teens to encourage and support a love of reading. Participants can win prizes for reaching their reading goals.

“We’ve planned a wonderful program for kids to make the library a great place to read, learn, and discover what’s available for their enjoyment,” said Krystal Cook-Elliott, Youth Services Librarian.

Themed events include a kickoff carnival on Thursday, June 30th.  Some other programs include a demonstration from Virginia State Police K-9 Dog, Zumba with an instructor from the Emporia-Greensville YMCA, Uncle Henry's fun animal facts and nature show, a meet and greet with Nutsy, the Richmond Flying Squirrels mascot, and much more! 

There’s also a serious side to summer reading. Research has shown that reading over the summer prevents summer reading loss.

“Studies also indicate students who read recreationally outperformed those who don’t. Students read more when they can choose materials based on their own interests,” Polly Duffey, Director. “Our libraries are committed to supporting lifelong learning and educational enrichment for all families.”

To learn more about the summer reading adventure at the library, please call the Brunswick County Library at (434) 848-2418 ext. 301 or the Richardson Memorial Library at (434) 634-2539 or check out the library’s website

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Southside Virginia Community College Class of 2016

Caption for this photo:  Dr. Al Roberts leads the processional at Southside Virginia Community College on May 14, 2016 during the 26th Commencement.  To the left is Gerald W. Watts, SVCC Local Board Chair, and Dr. Tara Carter, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and behind is Martha Reed, Speaker, and Dr. John J. Cavan, former SVCC President.

Dr. Al Roberts awards Tiffany Posey of Emporia with her diploma at SVCC's graduation.

Debra D. Norwood of Emporia was among those graduating from SVCC on May 14, 2016

Graduates from Emporia

Disheka Lanae Adams

Shaheed Nasir-Hakim Ahmad

Alexandra Nicole Allen

Haley Dawn Allen

Lesley Daniel Allen

Moniqua La'Chae Allen

Tamarreious Kemond Anderson

Sarah Kathleen Ashcraft II

Alexis Tilton Autry

Deborah Leigh Barnes

Jordan McKaley Boney

Autumn Karen Britton

Tenisha Renee Broadnax

Aviel Ranisia Brown

Brian Matthew Bullock

De'Shawn Tre'Von Cain

Derrick   Carpenter Jr.

Harvey Lee Cifers Jr.

Ciara Dare Cifers

Arden Carol Samson Cosio

James Bryant Cutcliff

William Henry Davis Jr.

Dynisha Te'sha Davis

Khadysia Simone Davis

Sonji S Davis

Morgan Elizabeth Dianis

Leslie Claire Dickens

Allison Gray Draper

Kathy Robinson Drummond

Terri LaPHaraha Drummond

Stewart Cordell Dugger

Amanda Lynn Earp

Skylar Dawn Ferguson

Ayjah Lashay Fields

Jessica Marie Flynt

Jessie Roland Gay

India RaQuell Gillus

Tammy Jo Goddard

Markeisha Denise Green

Paula Pettis Grizzard

Garrett Leon Gund

Denita Powell Hardy

Dykee Quashawn Harrison

Taylo Mariah Harrison

Andre' Malik Hayes

Michelle J. Hensley

Bryant O'Neal Hicks Jr.

Isaiah Cornelius Hicks

Davida S Jackson

Felicia A Jackson

Dillon Jacob Jenkins

Ny'Lisha Shaqiell Jones

Tillacia Breyaun July

Nathaniel Joseph King

Carman Kelli Larson

Zacia Tianna Lewis

Kimberly Ann Lucas

Porscha C Offer Lundy

Shastany DeAnn Lundy

Meredith Kaitlyn Lynch

Cleophas Franklin Malone

Kayla Ivona Maloney

Mallie Evelyn Manning

David Franklin Martin III

Lorraine   McDowell

Haylee N Miller

Deja Imani Moody

Kristen Nicole Moseley

Laurice Danielle Moses

Debra D Norwood

Michaela Romonza Parker

John Russell Perkins Jr.

Angel M Person

Austin Lee Petty

Justin N. Phillips

Kevin Neal Phillips

Latisha   Pitt

Rafiq JaQuail Akmed LilNay Pitt

Tiffany La'Rose Posey

Erica Rose Potempa

Kelli Miller Powell

Shaketta Shanelle Powell

Terrance   Price

Nayr Q Robinson

Valerie J Robinson

Edmund Marcus Saleeby

Moesha Chardae' Seaborn

Kayla Marie Simmons

Markesha Tonyale Simmons

Martina La'Shay Singleton

Darius Marcel Sneed

Kiarra Litia Speller

Tamara Lynn Starke

Michael Ray Stephens

Kevin McGlenn Stephenson

Allysa Jordan Thomas

Dominique Montayia Thomas

Sedarous Martiz Thomas

Makayla Lynn Tomlin

Al Lee Tucker

Dontae Shaquille Tucker

Angela Rowena Turner

Courtney Denise Vaughan

Stewart Eric Veliky

Alyssa Brooke Velvin

Tyler Wayne Velvin

Jarques James Walton

Katina Tiara Washington

Keeana Nastaaja Washington

Roland Eubank Weaver III

Ahmeara Elizabeth Wilfong-Linder

Kylah Simone Williams

Deondre Malik Williams-Porter

Harry Wilson Woodley Jr.

Rebecca Leeann Wrenn

Alanna   Wright

Lance Ryan Wyatt



Graduates from Jarratt

Stephen Dwayne Allen

Codi Alexander Autry

Tabria Neshae Bailey

Precious C Colbert

Donella Grant Crist

David Michael Gwaltney

Kaitlin Renee' Harrison

Madilyn Marie Harrison

Candace W. Joyner

Desmond Naron Manning

Matoya Shenelle Nicholson

Shacacia Tygi Parker

Laquishia Denise Person

Dallas Morgan Phelps

Kathryn Alexandra Rae

Shanice Shanae Squire

Robert   Sykes Jr.

Tameka Massenburg Williams

Graduates from Slippers

Tavonia Danielle Banks

Nicole M. Hicks

Dashawn   Jefferson

Jonathan Carl Jones

LaMoni Chetrel Lee

Tyler Dean Moore

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Brunswick Academy is pleased to announce that Madison Marie Fajna has been chosen the May 2016 Student of the Month. Madison, a senior, is the daughter of Dathan (BA Class of 1985) and Heather Fajna of Emporia and has one brother, Ian also a student at Brunswick Academy.    Madison has been a Cheerleader at Brunswick Academy since the 6th Grade.  She has cheered on both the  JV and Varsity squad. She is a member of the Spanish Club, Yearbook Staff and has been the Reporter of her class for the last several years. 

Madison has been an active member of the St. John Lutheran Church youth group for many years.  She has volunteered in the nursery, Vacation Bible School and your group fundraising activities.  She also currently works at Boyd Chevrolet of Emporia.   In her spare time she enjoys shopping, spending time at the beach and hanging out with friends. 

She will attend Lynchburg College in the fall where she will also continue her love of cheerleading as a member of the Lynchburg College Cheerleading Squad.  Madison plans to major in Biology and her future plans are to become a Physical Therapist.   



Health Community Memorial Hospital receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award

 American Heart Association Award recognizes

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s commitment to quality stroke care

South Hill, May 18, 2016― VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success in ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

To receive the Silver Plus Quality Achievement award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for at least 12 consecutive months and during the same period achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

Pictured (L to R) at the Stroke Coordinators Mid-Atlantic Boot Camp held on April 28, 2016 in Raleigh, NC is Laura Shuey, Vice president Mid- Atlantic Affiliate American Heart American Stroke Association, Vickey Morgan, RN, BSN and VCU Health CMH Stroke Program Coordinator, and  Kim Warren, RN, BS, BSN,MSHA, FACNA Clinical Director of Neuroscience, Bon Secours and Joint Commission Surveyor Stroke Certification.

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Aleise Hawkins Ligon

Aleise Hawkins Ligon, 101, of Emporia passed away on May 18, 2016. She was predeceased by her husband, Jeffery Paul Ligon, Sr.; her parents, F. W. Hawkins and Ada S. Hawkins; brothers, Russell W. Hawkins and James F. Hawkins and sister, Mattie H. Williams. She is survived by her sons, Jeffery Paul Ligon, Jr. and wife Peggy H. Ligon and Gerald Hawkins Ligon and wife Patricia W. Ligon; grandchildren, Kennon P. Ligon and wife Sandy, Brian C. Ligon and wife Emily, and Shelley L. Rideout and husband Jason; great-grandchildren, Matthew H. Ligon, Charles Maxwell Ligon, and Caroline E. Rideout. She was a member of Zion Baptist Church. Visitation will be held on Thursday, 6-8pm, in Echols Funeral Home Chapel. A funeral service will be held 1pm, Friday, in Echols Funeral Home Chapel followed by interment in Zion Baptist Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Zion Baptist Church, Emporia Volunteer Fire Department or Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad. Condolences may be sent to

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SVCC College Diesel and Auto Tech Graduation

The Southside Virginia Community College Diesel and Auto Tech programs held a ceremony to recognize successful graduates on May 5, 2016.  The program is taught at the SVCC Occupational Technical Center in Blackstone at Pickett Park.  Two of the students completing the program, Chad Philpot and James 'Kenny' Davis, are Dual Enrollment students who received the college Certificate before their high school graduation.  Those completing the program are:

Front Row Kneeling L - R: Antonio Watkins - Roanoke, Chad Philpot - Amelia, James (Kenny) Davis - Blackstone, Charles McKay - Rice, Tyler Moore - Skippers, Zachari Perkinson - Dinwiddie, Robert Cofer, Roanoke. 2nd row: Russell Hicks, Instructor, Tavon Jones - South Hill, Kyle Harlan - Jetersville, Arrick Chaffin - Nottoway, Chris Griffin - Chase City, Dylan Ray - Moseley, D. J. Winn - Chesterfield, Damon Honn - Chester, Ryan Huddleston - Farmville, Bryan Lewis, Instructor, Josh Smith, Instructor, Billy McGraw, Instructor.  3rd Row: Sedarous Thomas - Emporia, Thomas Wach - N. Chesterfield, Skyler Woollett - Lynchburg, Jeremiah Kelly - Crewe, Jonathan Kelly - Crewe, Michael Stephens - Emporia, Chance Holland - Lexington, Zachary Piper - Blackstone.

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First SVCC Power Line Worker Program Celebrates Graduation

Graduates of the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Program are(Front Row, Left to Right) Joseph Alan Anthony, Jr.  of Blackstone, Kevin Lee Dalton of Blackstone, Robert Joseph Parlante, Jr. of South Chesterfield, Derek Hunter Staton of Clarksville, and Brad Wike, Instructor and (Back Row, L to R) Cameron Willis Gibbs of Burkeville, Clyde Robertson, Instructor, Anton Andrew Lewis Carwile of Charlotte Court House, Joshua Lanier Crenshaw of Midlothian, William Andrew Jordan of Mineral, Lucas Brent Storey of Chester, of Powhatan,  Matthew Thomas Cox of Powhatan and Jackie Eugene Lewis, Jr. of Chase City.

The inaugural class of the Power Line Worker Program of Southside Virginia Community College celebrated graduation with family, friends and supporters on May 12, 2016.  Eleven students completed the 11-week program earning Level 1 certification from NCCER (National Center for Construction Education & Research), a commercial driver’s license, first aid & CPR certification and OSHA 10 safety training.

This comprehensive training program includes pole climbing, pole-top rescue, power line repairs, electrical circuits, rigging, setting and pulling poles, electrical test equipment, and trenching, excavating and boring equipment.  Prior to the graduation ceremony, students demonstrated pole climbing, rescues and other skills on the outdoor pole range.

The first of its kind in Virginia, the school was founded earlier this year by a public-private partnership between Virginia’s electric co-ops, Southside Virginia Community College, the Virginia Community College System, Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative and the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The motivation to establish the program grew from the demand for power line workers throughout Virginia and the nation. 

Clyde Robertson, Instructor and a 41-year veteran lineman, noted, “This class set a high bar for the classes to follow.”

Senator Frank Ruff, guest speaker, said, “This type of skill and training is a building block to your future.”  He commended the partners who brought this program “to our part of Virginia, it saves costs and keeps dollars in our economy.”

The Program opened on March 1, 2016.  At the time, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President said, “The establishment of the Power Line Worker Training School is a shining example of the high level of partnership and collaboration that is required if we are to advance our local economies and meet the demands of Governor McCauliffe’s New Virginia Economy.”

SVCC Vice President of Workforce Development, Keith Harkins points out “ this program is a wonderful example of how short-term training leading to an industry credential can result in a rewarding career”.  Two of the recent graduates have accepted jobs with electric cooperatives and several others have had interview opportunities.

The second class of the program starts on July 11 and is almost full.  An October class is filling up also.  This program is open to any high school graduate or GED recipient and includes extensive hands-on training that will prepare students for apprentice level line work at electric utilities.


Leslie T. “L.T.” Turner

Leslie T. “L.T.” Turner, 79, of Emporia passed away Monday, May 16, 2016 at his home. He is survived by his wife, Jearline M. “Judy” Turner; two sons, Leslie Keith Turner and wife, Cindy of Roanoke and Wayne Peterson and fiancée, Tammy Williams of Richmond; three daughters, Gwen T. Edwards, Sarah T. Combs and husband, Mike, all of Emporia and Kathy Turner of Winston-Salem, NC; two granddaughters, Nicole Edwards and Crystal Edwards; a sister, Rose Edwards and husband, Marshall of Littleton, NC; a brother, Bill Turner and wife, Rachel of Seaboard, NC; a number of nieces and nephews and his beloved feline companion, “Big Boy Turner”. Mr. Turner was the owner/operator of Turner’s Emporia 66 service station in Emporia for 45 years. The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Thursday, May 19 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. A graveside funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, May 20 at Beechwood Cemetery in Boykins, Virginia. Online condolences may be made at

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Lydia Gerusa Norwood Riolo

8/26/1940 - 5/16/2016

Celebration of Life, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 11:00am, in Echols Funeral Home Chapel.

Lydia Gerusa Norwood Riolo, 75, of Emporia, VA passed away on May 16, 2016. She was preceded in death by her husband, Matteo Riolo and her two brothers, Eduardo Gerusa, Jr. and Ramon Gerusa. She is survived by her daughters, Pat Norwood Cocke (Raymond), Lynda Norwood Crabtree (Paul), and Debbie Denice Norwood; step-daughter, Pat Riolo Baker; brother, Reynaldo Gerusa; 13 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and Robert “Bobby” C. Norwood, Jr. A Celebration of Lydia's Life will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 11am, in Echols Funeral Home Chapel. Condolences may be sent to


Local Student Authors Win State Contest

The Riparian Woman's Club hosted it's annual Writing contest, the children who place first at the district level went on to the GFWC VA (General Federation of Women’s Clubs Virginia) State competition.  No student from Greensville County Public Schools has ever won at the state level.  This year two won.  Blair Dickens won 1st place for Poetry and Davis Robinson won 1st place for Short Story.  Both children will be moving on the National Contest.  Both are students in the 4th grade at Greensville Elementary School. Blair is the student of Melissa Harrison and Davis is the student of Brenda Matthews.  Blair is the 10 year old daughter of Doug and Tina Dickens of Skippers, VA and Davis is the 10 year old son of Will and Gloria Robinson of Emporia.

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Kelly Ann Burke Graduates with Honors

Kelly Ann Burke of Emporia, Virginia, daughter of Debbie Burke Vincent and William J. Burke of Chester graduated cum laude from James Madison University on May 7, 2016.

Kelly graduated from James Madison University with a major in Biology and minor in Sociology with plans of applying to medical schools this coming June. She has been conducting undergraduate research alongside Dr. Stephen Poulson investigating patterns of civilian fatality secondary to both insurgent and incumbent forces in Iraq to establish predictable trends of violence, and therefore trends of injury which could be used to prepare medical personnel in training for and responding to violent attacks. Manuscript entitled Levels of Insurgent Control and the Patterns of Civilian Fatalities in Co-ethnic Communities During the Iraq Civil Conflict (2004-2009) submitted to the British Medical Journal (BMJ) for publication. Kelly has also conducted clinical animal research in the field of neuroscience for the past 3 years under Dr. Justin Brown in the Biology department exploring the role of the brainstem in mediating a protective cardiovascular and behavioral response to environmental stress such as hypoxia to investigate the serotonin receptor's possible role in the pathology of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Outside of academia, Kelly has focused her attention to expanding medical assistance in rural areas by founding the annual Emporia 5k for Diabetes Awareness in an attempt to promote awareness for the high incidence of diabetes in southern Virginia with a focus on Emporia. She has also interned with Remote Area Medical (RAM) in Knoxville, Tennessee working at free clinics in Appalachia such as the Wise County Clinic.

Her leadership roles include working as the Chief Scribe in the Emergency room documenting medical charts at Rockingham Memorial Hospital as well as serving as an executive board member of the Biological Honor Society Beta Beta Beta.

During her gap year, Kelly has been hired to scribe full time at a family practice office in Dayton, VA. with Dr. Ronald Schubert as she applies and interviews at medical schools across the state.


Government Initiatives Seek to Combat Opiate Epidemic


By Sarah King, Capital News Service

The rate of fatal opioid overdoses in the United States has quadrupled since 2000, claiming nearly a half-million lives, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, nearly 80 Americans, including at least two Virginians, die each day from an overdose of heroin or prescription drugs.

No wonder governments at all levels, as well as health care companies and educators, have mobilized to target the problem.

In March, the U.S. Senate passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. State Attorney General Mark Herring praised the Senate’s action and the work of Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to advance the legislation.

“Passage of CARA is a big step forward in addressing what has become a national epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse and overdose,” Herring said. “If anything cried out for bipartisan action, it is this ‘all hands on deck’ moment, and my only regret is that these resources come too late for thousands of families in Virginia and throughout the country who have already lost a loved one to addiction.”

Herring said nearly every day he reads about another Virginian, often a young person, who died from a heroin or prescription drug overdose.

“It’s heartbreaking to read these stories and to talk to the parents, family and friends of these people who never thought anyone in their family would be touched by addiction, but now are trying to carry on in the face of such a tremendous loss,” Herring said.

President Barack Obama said fighting the opioid epidemic is also a priority for his administration. In March, he announced new measures to expand access to treatment. For example, Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans, now will cover substance abuse disorder in the same way it covers mental health issues.

The administration is also providing $11 million to states to purchase and distribute the opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone, and to train first responders and others on its use along with other overdose prevention strategies.

Additionally, this fall, more than 60 medical schools, 50 pharmacy schools and nearly 200 nursing schools will start requiring students to take some form of prescriber education to graduate. The requirement will align with the CDC’s newly released Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Schools in Virginia that have signed on to the initiative include:

●     Hampton University

●     James Madison University

●     Old Dominion University

●     Radford University

●     Virginia Commonwealth University

National chain pharmacies are also taking part in the effort:

●     Rite Aid has trained more than 8,400 pharmacists on naloxone. In 10 states, Rite Aid also is dispensing naloxone to patients without needing an individual prescription; the company plans to expand that policy to additional states.

●     Kroger currently dispenses naloxone without an individual prescription at its pharmacies in seven states, with plans to expand to at least 12 more by the end of the year.

●     AmerisourceBergen/Good Neighbor Pharmacy will provide educational materials to encourage its 4,000 independently owned and operated retail pharmacy locations to provide naloxone without an individual prescription.

●     Walgreens announced in February that it will install safe medication disposal kiosks in more than 500 drugstores across the country, primarily at locations open 24 hours. Walgreens also will make naloxone available without needing an individual prescription at its pharmacies in 35 states and Washington, D.C.

●     Since March, CVS Pharmacy locations in 23 states have been able to dispense naloxone to patients without needing an individual prescription. This initiative will increase to 35 states by December.

●     CVS Health has launched a program called Pharmacists Teach, which sends the company’s pharmacists into schools across the country to educate students about the dangers of drug abuse. To date, more than 30,000 students have participated in the program.

At the state level, Gov. Terry McAuliffe released his task force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse implementation plan in October. In the 2016 legislative session, McAuliffe signed into law three bills regarding opiate abuse:

●     House Bill 1059 directs the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission to evaluate sentencing patterns in cases involving heroin and recommend adjustments in sentencing guidelines.

●     Under House Joint Resolution 45, the state will study whether to mandate health insurance coverage for “abuse deterrent formulations for opioid medications.”

●     Senate Bill 556 removes certain restrictions on health care professions who treat people with opiate addiction using opioid replacements approved by the federal government. Such restrictions include the proximity of the provider to a school or daycare center.

The attorney general, however, says legislators haven’t gone far enough. Herring criticized the General Assembly for failing to pass HB 102, which would have made it a felony homicide to manufacture or provide a controlled substance that later causes a fatal overdose.

“Virginians are losing their lives every day to cheap, potent heroin, and tools to hold dealers and traffickers accountable are a critical part of addressing this problem, along with education, prevention and treatment,” Herring said.

“Too often, the parents of young people who have died from an overdose feel like no one really cares that their child was taken from them, and they’re resigned to the fact that the dealer will never really face consequences for what they’ve done.”

Herring said his office has helped prosecute a number of these cases at the federal level, but local commonwealth’s attorneys need a “proper state-level tool” to hold dealers and traffickers accountable.

HB 102 easily passed the House of Delegates but died in the Senate.It is the only opioid overdose bill proposed by Herring that has yet to pass.

In 2015, the General Assembly approved his legislation to expand the use of naloxone by first responders and make the drug available without a prescription; to create a “good Samaritan” provision to encourage the reporting of overdoses in progress; and to expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program.

(Editor's Note: Per the spreadsheet sent with this article, since 2007 there have been 5 Fatal Drug Overdoses in the City of Emporia and 6 in Greensville County.)

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Foundation Helps Addicts Recover as Opioid Deaths Soar

By Sarah King, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Scraps of newspaper obituaries, photographs of the departed and handwritten notes in memory of loved ones collage the bottom third of a sectioned-off piece of the wall at the McShin Foundation’s intake office.

The delicate ensemble pays homage to lives lost to addiction – a tangible mnemonic indicative of a statewide epidemic. Inches to the right, the rest of the wall is covered with photos of smiling faces, separated from the deceased only by a faint line of demarcation.

“This is how we keep track of people when they leave housing,” said Michael Quinn, the intake specialist at the foundation, a local nonprofit recovery community organization. “If they’re doing well they’re above the line. People will come in all the time and kind of shift things around so we can keep better track of how people are doing.”

Unfortunately, not everyone’s face remains above the halfway mark – a reflection of a wave of deaths in Virginia due to fatal opiate overdoses.

Opioids – both prescription pain medications and heroin – account for most of the spike in fatalities. The number of fatal opioid overdoses increased nearly 60 percent, from 475 deaths in 2010 to more than 880 last year, a CNS analysis of data from the Virginia Department of Health found. Opioids made up more than 90 percent of the state’s drug deaths in 2015.

Quinn attributes the sharp rise in drug abuse partially to the availability of more potent heroin.

“A lot of dealers are cutting the heroin with phenobarbital, which is a deadly combination,” he said. “And the other thing is, heroin’s become more of a popular drug in suburban and upper-class neighborhoods, so it’s becoming more acceptable.”

In Richmond, the number of heroin deaths jumped from five in 2010 to 38 last year. Over the same period in Henrico County, the number rose from four to 27. In Virginia Beach, it went from three to 18. And in Fairfax County, it increased from two to 32.

Nick, a Fairfax County native who asked that his last name not be used, knows firsthand about the addiction that drives those statistics.

“It was like when I was high, I could live in this fantasy all the time that was, ‘I’m gonna go to school tomorrow, and fold my laundry, and start working out, and cook dinner,’” he said. “But as soon as I came down, my only concern was getting back to that place of contemplative productivity by getting another hit.”

Now 22 and almost a year into a treatment program in Florida, Nick tried prescription painkillers for the first time at 16.

“It progressed from whenever I could get them, to raiding medicine cabinets, to finding my own dealers for the next three years,” Nick said. “I started using every day at 19, and that continued until about 20, and then I was injecting.”

Nick said his parents were unaware of his growing addiction until his father had to cover a $500 drug debt about nine months before he went to treatment.

“It was when I started using heroin in addition to the pills, and the unmanageability during the times when I had no drugs was too much to bear, that I decided to get help or I was going to die. So I checked into treatment,” Nick said. “My parents didn’t know I was IV’ing until we got to the ER the day I asked for help.”

Quinn said he hears stories like this all too often. The McShin Foundation works to erase the stigma associated with addiction and getting help.

“When somebody says they’re an addict, people think of them as this nasty junkie person you don’t want to be with,” Quinn said. “The media always portrays the problem – the arrests and drug dealers – but they never show the solution, which is people recovering and living regular lives.”

Quinn, like all other administrators at the foundation, went through McShin’s peer-to-peer program personally. He has been clean from opioids for more than a year. The foundation’s CEO has been sober for nine; the director of operations, five; and the founder, John Shinholser, more than 30.

“It’s an everyday battle still,” Quinn said. “I have a sponsor, I go to meetings – it’s working. And people can relate to us and can’t use the excuse of ‘Oh well, you haven’t been there, you don’t know what you’re talking about,’ because yeah, I have been there, and I do know.”

The McShin Foundation is now in its 12th year. About 60 percent of its clients are addicted to opioids. Quinn said the rate of recovery is higher than at most treatment centers.

He said traditional centers typically have an 18 to 20 percent success rate – which is determined by a year of sobriety – whereas success rates at McShin are closer to 50 percent.

Because the nonprofit McShin Foundation does not receive any government funding and insurance companies don’t recognize the program, Quinn said treatment must come out of pocket for individuals and families. But clients say it’s well worth the cost.

“You’re investing in someone’s life,” Quinn said. “My parents tell me all the time the best investment they ever made was getting their son back – and that’s priceless.”

For the past two years, the opioid epidemic has claimed, on average, more than two Virginians’ lives a day for the last two years. The toll has spurred state officials into action. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring in particular is taking strides to address the rise in fatalities and opioid abuse.

Last month, Herring was awarded the Bronze Key, a national recognition presented for outstanding contributions, from the McShin Foundation at the organization’s 12th Annual Spring Awards Banquet.

“So many families across Virginia have been touched by addiction to heroin and prescription opioids, and too many have already lost a loved one to a fatal overdose,” Herring said. “In many cases, this is a problem that has its roots in the medicine cabinet, not in the streets, and that the medical community has to be part of the solution.”

Herring’s office created a documentary “Heroin: The Hardest Hit,” which features Virginians, including some from the McShin Foundation, sharing their personal stories of grappling with addiction and recovery, as well as the stories of people who died from overdoses.

Herring has also worked with local and federal authorities to prosecute more than 28 cases against dealers and traffickers involving more than 95 kilograms of heroin – which equates to 238,500 daily doses and a street value of more than $19 million.

“So often, shame, stigma or fear forces families and those with substance abuse disorders to suffer in silence,” Herring said. “But we cannot and will not let ourselves become hopeless or discouraged. We have to make sure that people who are struggling know you can beat addiction. There is life after addiction, and there is hope in recovery.”

Gov. Terry McAuliffe and state lawmakers across party lines agree have joined forces to address the problem. During the 2015 legislative session, the General Assembly made naloxone – a potentially life-saving opioid-antagonist administered in the event of an overdose – more widely accessible to law enforcement and health-care providers.

Last October, McAuliffe’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse released its recommendations, and state officials are implementing some of them. They include developing a website as an informational hub on prescription pill and heroin abuse, creating an opioid educational curriculum for law enforcement, reducing the stigma associated with addiction and increasing the availability of peer-support services.

According to a recent policy brief by the VCU School of Medicine, untreated substance abuse costs the state and local governments more than $600 million annually.

“Virginia’s opioid epidemic and untreated substance abuse are killing hundreds of Virginians and costing taxpayers more than half a billion dollars each year,” said Andrew Barnes, the brief’s lead author and an assistant professor at VCU.

For young adults like Nick and families across the state, there are emotional costs as well.

“A close friend of mine relapsed and overdosed on Dec. 18. It’s hard seeing someone give up on themselves and go back to their old ways,” Nick said. “I’m a fear-based person, but my fear of dying from this disease is the reason I keep doing what I need to in order to stay sober.”

Richmond native William “Billy” Derr, 24, passed away from a fatal overdose last month. Derr’s mother, Jenny, wrote in her son’s obituary, “As those who struggle with addiction know, it is a daily fight, hour by hour, and is ever constant. Billy had some extended periods of sobriety; those were the times when his true genuine heart shined through.”

In the obituary, Deer stated:

“To the people who don't understand addiction, he may be just another kid who made a ‘bad choice.’ For those who do understand the disease, this was our oldest child, a brother, a friend and as his mother, my children are my everything. The disease of addiction is non-discriminatory and without mercy. It is up to us to open our minds and hearts to those suffering from the disease. We will continue to fight the fight.”

So will the McShin Foundation. It provides a rapid detox program, which tapers the individual off opioids over five to seven days. Quinn said what separates McShin from other treatment centers is that there’s no waiting list.

“If someone calls me, they can come in today, see the doctor and get put in a bed that day,” Quinn said. “If someone needs help, there’s always a bed available.”

More about the McShin Foundation

The foundation’s website is, and its phone number is 804-249-1845. The foundation, at 2300 Dumbarton Road in Henrico County, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

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