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We are Here because

Dr. Gary L. and Nam Rhodes Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

Dr. Gary L. Rhodes, President of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and his wife Nam, an artist and a native of Vietnam, have been living in Powhatan County almost five years, having moved here from Hanover County. This is why they live here. NR: We always had a desire to live on a lake, and we are both golfers. One day Gary and I said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if some day when we get a little older to find a very simple golf course right on the lake.” And that would be our dream. We found an ad for Mill Quarter Golf Course, so we just went out there for 18 holes for fun and we found a property. Like miracles. We knew right away that this was what we want. We were blessed. GR: It was a little serendipitous that we found this property. Nam and I [have] lived in California, Maine, Minnesota, and now here. It’s everything from the people to the rural atmosphere, to the greenery, to the change of seasons, and a lot of it’s Virginia, not just Powhatan, but this just happens to be the corner where we landed and we’ve made just a wonderful, high quality of life place.

“I have travelled all over the country, lived in different parts of the country, and of all the places I’ve ever lived this is the only one I’ve literally fallen in love with.” NR: Gary’s job is 24/7. I mean, he’s going to be interacting with students, staff, community people, political people, chamber of commerce, everything, so having a place here is really relax-

ing. We both work very hard and on weekends we can decide [to] golf, kayak, enjoy. GR: This is sort of our respite, to reflect and think and enjoy nature again. I saw four snakes kayaking last week. How often do people get to see four snakes on one trip? Even the drive, it’s quality thinking time for me. I’m with people all day, on the phone, meetings, so the only time I’m really by myself is in my car. Some people think it’s a drive, but frankly, it’s a plus for me because it is that quiet time that I don’t have anywhere else. NR: What I like the most is that I feel peaceful all the time. GR: I have travelled all over the country, lived in different parts of the country, and of all the places I’ve ever lived this is the only one I’ve literally fallen in love with.


I AM Here because

Anita Cook Ridings

Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

Anita Cook Ridings is the co-owner of The Teachers Aide. Except for going to college at Longwood, in Farmville, she has lived in Powhatan her whole life. This is why she lives here. ACR: My grandfather, Walter Columbus Cook, came here from Mount Airy, NC in 1916 and he started his tobacco farm and had a very large family. My father had 16 brothers and sisters. I think I have close to fifty first cousins and about 80% of them still live in the county. It’s not like I’ve never been anywhere and didn’t have any idea of anything else. I’ve traveled the world and been to many different countries and all across the United States. I love to travel but this is my home. If you choose to be in a neighborhood you can. [Or you can] choose to be further out and more secluded. I like the fact that you still have that choice here. You have enough conveniences but it’s not like living in the city. I like to see the stars at night. I used to spend the night [at] a girlfriend of mine [in Chesterfield] and I couldn’t sleep; there

“I know if I ever need anything I have someone close by that will help me and I try to help other people as well.” were lights coming in the windows and the traffic noise and it just isn’t my thing. I suppose the reason I stay is my faith. I was raised under the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do onto you. I try to live my life with that philosophy. It might not be donating all your time and money to every cause but helping an elderly person open a

door or being polite. I know if I ever need anything I have someone close by that will help me and I try to help other people as well. It is the type of community that Powhatan is. I was baptized last year in Cartersville River; we don’t have a [building] yet at the Powhatan Community Church so we [go] down to the river and have to scoot over when people unload boats and load. Last year I happened to have been baptized on the hottest day of the year—it was like 100+—people who weren’t even being baptized got in the water! I belong to the Powhatan Community Church. Two reasons: Powhatan…community. Part of the name. They do things right here. They do things I believe in. Doing things for the community. That’s really why I stay.


I AM Here because

Mike Goodwyn

Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

Mike Goodwyn, President of R. C. Goodwyn & Sons, Inc. was born and raised in Powhatan. After serving in the military, he came back to work in the family business, a saw mill started by his grandfather in 1932. This is why he lives here. MG: I started working over here picking up bottles when I was like 12 or 13 years old. I’d get me a wheel barrow and go over to the saw mill and pick up bottles and I’d get two cents apiece or a penny a piece for them bottles. There were no aluminum cans back then. I’ve done everything here from picking up bottles to the being president of the company, you know, so I’ve seen a lot of changes for sure. I am here in Powhatan because this is where my family is. This is where I work. This is where most of my friends are. I’ve always liked the small town feeling, anyway. And this is where I grew up. That’s it in a nutshell. What’s really kept me here is this business. I could’ve done something else. I play music, I love music! I thought about one time trying that, going to Nashville, try to make a go at that, but I got started late and that wasn’t in the cards. This [the family business] was in the cards for me. You gotta go where the money is, you know what I mean? If

“I don’t want Powhatan to be too big, but then I want this business to survive and it takes people to make it survive.” you’re not making a decent living you got to stick with what’s working. So I’m looking to the future to see what else we can do to find some kinda niche where we can still survive just like my granddaddy did back in those days. He was hauling his hardwood to David M. Lee down in Richmond. He found a niche there. But that’s what’s going to be challenging for us here, to keep it a family business. I’m a third-generation. My son, he’s

working here, he’s a fourth-generation. Things have changed a lot since my granddaddy to his generation. We just recently put in a new hardware store; we sell plumbing and electrical supplies now. And we still buy and sell a ton of lumber and windows and doors. I think it’s a growth explosion out here in Powhatan and I think they’re doing all they can do to slow down. But it’s hard to stop it. People want to come out here in the country, you know, but when they get here and they want all the conveniences of the city…you really can’t have both. So that worries me a little bit. I don’t want Powhatan to be too big, but then I want this business to survive and it takes people to make it survive. You have got to change with the times and there will probably be another change coming. I can see it in the cards...if we want to make it.


I AM Here because

Ruth Boatwright

Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

Ruth Boatwright is a business owner and a hands-on community activist. This is why she lives here. RB: I was born and raised here. 72 years. I did live in Bon Air for a year when we first got married. My parents lived here, owned land here, and gave my husband and I some land here so we built a house here and moved back to Powhatan and we’ve been here ever since. The people keep me here. I know so many wonderful people here. I went to school here, I had some dear friends, and a lot of my classmates still live in Powhatan. I came to work at Richardson Harrison Boatwright in 1962 and I really liked what I was doing and I love the job that I had. I never dreamed that one day that I would be part owner of the business. This business is a part of meeting people, helping people. My husband and I didn’t start out to have a farm but we do have a farm today. It’s nice and relaxing. He is retired and I’m still working. When my doctor asked if I was still working and I told him yes, he said, “Good! Don’t retire. Keep working.” I’m involved in Relay for Life which is something that has brought me a lot of satisfaction in knowing that Powhatan County has been instrumental in raising a lot of money for the cure for cancer. I just lost my brother three weeks ago to cancer.

“I feel the Lord has put me here for a purpose and I try every day with all my heart to fulfill that purpose. ” I’ve lost two brothers and two sisters to cancer so I’ve been involved in Relay for Life and the people that are involved in that are just wonderful people. Getting involved with the veterans has been something that again involves people. [In 1995?] I put together a bunch of songs that were patriotic. A lot of the men, and women, too, had joined the Army or the Navy right after school so it sort of brought the community back together and brought those men

and their wives and their families back together. And they loved it! So we continue to do it. We do it every year the Sunday before Memorial Day. We were doing a night show and we got so we had too many people coming and so we did two shows, one in the afternoon and one at night. When the new high school was built and it seated a thousand, I said let’s move it to the high school and do one show. I had one guy drive down here from New Jersey just to come to the show. He said [they] don’t do anything like this in New Jersey. I guess I’m a people person. I’ve never lived anywhere else but I don’t know if I can visualize myself leaving Powhatan. This is home for me. This is where I grew up. This is where I became involved.


I AM Here because

Jenny Guo

Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

Jenny Guo has been living in Powhatan for almost five years. She and her husband own the China Taste and Asiana Bistro restaurants. This is why she lives here. JG: My name is Miao Yan Guo, but everybody call me Jenny. I [came] from mainland China [from] a little city call Fuzhou. It’s in southern China. It’s not like a Powhatan [where] we have like acres around and between the houses. My daddy have the restaurants all over the place. He owns restaurants in Jersey City and in the capital of Michigan, in Lansing; it’s all big-city so Powhatan is the first place I’m going [that] is country. At first I don’t have much friends here [but] we have of lots of good customers and they say you can come to our house for a picnic or have fun, you know, on the weekends. The Goodwyns, he is one of our customer, he always like tell us, “go to his house and have some fun, BBQ, or I was going to be here working seven days a week.” It’s going pretty good, still, it’s hard for sushi… it’s hard to start with. Everybody come here and try at least. I really thank the Richmond TimesDispatch interview; [it] bring us lots of business. We have lots of customers come in here really often, like once a week, twice a week. What’s special about Powhatan County? How fresh air! It’s just like standing in the front door— you can feel it like fresh; it’s not like the city, you

“It’s just like standing in the front door — you can feel it like fresh; it’s not like the city, you know” know, you smell it or like gas around or the steams. It’s fresh! I like it a lot! I go back to New York very often because New York has lots of things to buy of. Always going there, visiting families and getting our “real” Chinese food. I guess we always being to New York [but] it’s just not as comfortable as here; you always have traffic no matter what—daytime, nighttime—there always traffic. Here, we hear some bird sounds and then we have some in the night time; we hear some froggies and doggies; New York they

have ambulance around, police around, and lots of other people playing music in the streets. We have the families and they come here to visit us. [My brother] like a lot so he gonna be stay here, he not gonna to be nowhere else. He don’t like [to go] back to Michigan. It’s cold, really cold. In the winter time they have the snow all day long, you know, never stops. So he like it here a lot, too. So we try to helping him and am getting another restaurant going [on] the Hull Street where people can take Thai food, Japanese food, and Chinese food at the same time. It’s gonna be hard, I think, to start with, but I gonna be really excited, too! I am between somewhere business and family woman because I care about my business, at the same time I care about my family, and I hope that everybody have a happy smile on their face.


I AM Here because

Wade McClintock

Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

Wade McClintock moved to Powhatan on October 15, 1988 and has been operating the McClintock Service Center on Route 60 since August of 1998. This is why he has stayed here. WM: A while back I was looking for a particular person and I was scrolling down through the [customer list] and I didn’t realize that there was that many different names and different folks who have come through over the years…it kinda reads like the telephone book. This is pretty much the only profession I’ve ever been in. Dad will tell a story every now and then that he had an old Jeep or something (I’m a little foggy on the on the memory of it cause I was so young) but he come home and I had it jacked up—up on jack stands—all four wheels. I more or less worked in the Midlothian area or the Richmond area in a couple of different shops over the years and you get to know people from working on their cars for years. As a matter of fact the landlord here was actually one of the customers I was doing a lot of work on their company vehicles, family vehicles, and he comes up on day and says, “See here, let’s see if we can work out a relationship here where you have your own place to work out off.” So it seemed to work out. We really get such a large variety the around here. One customer has an early 80s Cadillac out here that’s her pride and joy and another cus-

“It’s more of a smalltown atmosphere, you tend to know more people by their name. It makes it more comfortable.” tomer of ours has a year-or-two-old one of these really fancy Mercedes. [We] get lots of trucks, small cars, big cars—it’s just a large variety. As far as that goes, you get some farm equipment. I come in one day and there was a pavement roller sitting in front of the front door and that had a note on it that said, “It’s broke.” I just like the feel of the area. I don’t know how to explain it other than that. A number of people I’ve known over the years, friends, family, the rural atmosphere. I really don’t like

the idea of “in the city.” I like to stretch my arms out a little bit. Like where I live over there; I know a few of the neighbors but none of us are close enough to annoy each other. It’s more of a small-town atmosphere, you tend to know more people by their name. It makes it more comfortable. What do I like to do when I’m not working on cars? Working on cars. Working on cars or either hunting. I kinda enjoy the shooting sports. That’s kind of my recreation, what I like to do different than turning wrenches. All I try to do is be fair and honest in what I’m trying to do and it just so happens that I have a knack of working with this stuff. I would never be a type to go to blow my own horn—it’s just not the way I am. Actions speak for what I do rather than what I say, if that makes sense.


I AM Here because

C.T. Crouch

Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

C.T. Crouch was born in Powhatan twentyseven years ago. He’s a community activist with political aspirations. This is why he lives here. CC: [I recently graduated from] John Tyler Community College, Midlothian campus, with a degree in political science. It took me eight years to get that degree. A lot of hard work, though, but it finally did pay off. From a young age I want to learn about American history and the presidents and historical facts and the growth of American political conservatism in the Republican party back in the 60s going into the 80s, and, mostly Virginia politics. I met Doug Wilder and George Allen, Jim Gilmore, and Randy Forbes, Bob Beasley, and of course my hero, Lee Ware. I’ve known Lee Ware since I was a student in Powhatan High School [10 years ago]. I’ve known him for all these years and I’ve come to understand and respect him. He gives me advice on how to get into the political arena and how he sees politics; and he knows the ins and outs of the General Assembly based on the issues that he votes on. And I did an interview of him one time by the phone when I was in high school for an English report. I explained where he was born and [who his hero was] (Winston Churchill). He’s a great guy. He’s the essence of this county. Whenever there’s a problem he’s always there to help us. I like to interact with people. I like to see myself one day maybe start running [for office] at the local level. Board of Supervisors or School Board. Maybe see myself run for maybe Governor, maybe Senator, or maybe one day, maybe Virginia could use another president. But right now I’m just being a citizen politician. I like to go these meetings and

“I get a sense of pride and a sense of belonging here in this county.” understand how this county operates and functions. And I’m also involved in my church, ushering and greeting, at Red Lane Baptist Church; and I feed the homeless and I also help on the Virginia Society for Human Life. And there’s one other organization that I’m always committed [to] cause it comes from at my own level and it ain’t got nothing to do with politics but it’s a form of public service and that’s the Special Education Advisory Committee. That’s the organization that deals with people with disabilities in the public school system and people with autism and how we can share what their struggles are

in the school system and can help them achieve their potential and goals. It’s a lot of fun being on that committee. I started going there since 2008 and this is my second year on the committee and I’m just thrilled to be part of it. [live anywhere else?] Absolutely not. I mean Richmond, Washington DC, they’re great places, right, but I prefer living here, that’s where my friends are. I feel like Powhatan is a great place to live. I feel like where we’re sitting right now, the nature, the woods, everything else that revolves around us, it gives us like a real feel for this community. I think that Powhatan is a great place to live and work and how you interact with people in the community and the friends that you meet every day. I get a sense of pride and a sense of belonging here in this county.


I AM Here because

Krystal Solzbach

Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

A job relocation brought Krystal Solzbach and her husband to Chesterfield 18 ½ years ago; six months later, they moved to Powhatan. This is why she lives here. KS: When we were setting our sights on buying a home we were fortunate enough to get in touch with a Powhatan realtor. My husband, being from Germany, knew that he wanted more open space, more woods. Of course all our Chesterfield and Midlothian friends asked us if we were crazy, but we have been completely satisfied. You’re going to be hard pressed to find a “Powhatan” anywhere. Just with the outreach—like the “Relay for Life” project, the people that you see in front of the Food Lion that may request donations for whatever organization—it’s a very giving community. I think that says a lot about who the people are as a whole. I’m a people person and I like to see communities rise together when there’s a need. SR: What are some of the other things you’ve discovered since moving out here? KS: Copperheads! We got out here at the right time, I think, because we were really blessed to get the land that we did and we’ve watched Powhatan grow. Good or bad, it’s hard to lose that rural feel, but at the same time, I think that growth is inevitable. We remember the one grocery store, the one traffic light, no Sheetz, no McDonald’s. I think that I read that Powhatan has stayed in the top 10 growth counties for the last several years. I remember going to parades and there wasn’t that much on the courthouse lawn, but

now you see a whole bunch of various political parties and of course vendors and such. [Powhatan] may be known as a conservative community, but with the growth, you might see a different demographic than we’ve seen in the past and I think that Powhatan has maintained a very civil kind of political background. I like for there to be civility in conversations where you can hear other people’s words. I try to attend as many school board meetings and Board of Supervisors meetings as possible and I just think it’s really important that as a community that we all take advatage of seeing what’s going on in our local government. SR: Given your civic involvement, why do you homeschool? KS: Just to be perfectly honest, I love learning with them on a daily basis. I love getting them outside and connecting them with nature and I’m very blessed that I’m able to stay at home with them. I just feel [a] strong attachment to wanting to teach them everything. I know there’s an excellent

“We remember the one grocery store, the one traffic light, no Sheetz, no McDonald’s.” school system here in Powhatan and most all of the friends of my children do attend the public schools. [Homeschooling] is a very good thing for us. There are a lot of the co-op’s, [and] we’re involved in a couple of different homeschooling network groups. It’s a huge world that a lot of people really aren’t familiar [with]; there’s lots of opportunities available. [Whether our children will ever attend public school] is a tough question for the future. [What else is it about Powhatan?] I [like] the roominess; knowing that we eventually would stay planted and raise a family and want the country feel and no big-city issues. I appreciate the openness, I appreciate not allowing for neighbors to be window-to window. There was a possibility of a job transfer to Tennessee, but we were very blessed to remain in Powhatan.


I AM Here because

Susanna Croasdaile

Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

Susanna Croasdaile discovered Virginia while her daughter and son-inlaw were doing graduate work at William & Mary. When they decided to make their home in Goochland, she decided to move from Connecticut to Powhatan. This is why she lives here. SC: Moved here August ’06, three years, [from] Ridgefield, Connecticut. I walked into this church [Emmanuel Episcopal Church] and you can hear the little eye balls snapping to the side, see who is walking through the front door… all these beautiful people have been wonderful for the past three years. Reverend Murphy is wonderful. It is so peaceful and I think all the people here are lovely, especially the women. The people are gracious, the women are gracious, the pace is slower, as opposed to Connecticut—which is whole different concept—this is just more genteel, nice people, good people. I love it. The people are extremely intelligent and “with it”, but they’re not so uptight about everything. The graciousness of the women and the men just amazes me. Excellent manners, everywhere you are. [I don’t say “Ya’ll”] and I’m not going to say, “Bless your heart,” because I have been warned that when Southern women say, “Why, you look so nice in that outfit, ‘bless your heart’” [it] means “Trash it!” and they think this is enormously funny. So I keep getting books from them on ‘South-

“The people are extremely intelligent and “with it”, but they’re not so uptight about everything. The graciousness of the women and the men just amazes me. Excellent manners, everywhere you are.” ern Women’ and leg-pulling, a lot of leg-pulling. Which makes it fun. [In addition to being involved in the church,] I’m a volunteer coordinator [for

Christmas mother], and [I do] Meals-on-Wheels with my neighbor, and I do the polls. Next Wednesday I’ll be out with my neighbor [delivering meals]. We’ve had snow the two years I’ve been here. Oh I got out, I shoveled my way out and got in the car. And I go out when there’s just a little bit of snow and everybody’s in their house but me. My son-in-law, my daughter, they loved the area, they love everything about it; [they’re being down here] got me visiting and it [was a] nine and a half hour [drive] to me and it’s 25 minutes now, so that’s good. It’s home. The ladies at the church are the number one thing that makes it special. As long as they keep pulling my leg, I’ll stay. Or [don’t] say “bless your heart” a little too much. It’s just warm, friendly, and polite. People are, whether or not they are a great friend of yours, they are always gracious, and that makes you feel good, makes me feel good.


I AM Here because

Terry Paquette

Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

Terry Paquette, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Powhatan, has been living in Powhatan for 20 years. This is why he lives here. TP: [We were] living in a small town in New Jersey, Cranford, about a 20 minute train ride to my office in Newark (I worked for Prudential Investments). It was a delightful little town but when you get out of your little town it gets very busy. [Our] four children [were] somewhat active and they [tended] to attract lots of other children; in New Jersey there just wasn’t enough room for us. Initially we settled here because of a house, Erin Hill, which was the best of both: it was in the Village, but it had 11 acres to it. I knew that would be enough room for the kids to play without bothering any of the neighbors. I commuted for 30 years; I commuted into Richmond 45 minutes each way, but I [traveled] for a living so my commute wasn’t just to Richmond: it was to Atlanta, New York, wherever. I retired to get off the road, to be home more. I lived in Powhatan for almost 19 years and I was gone all the time. My wife was a stay-at-home mom and she knew everybody in town, so we basically traded places. March 2008 she went to work full-time as a nurse while I retired. [Last] October I went to visit Don Whitley who was the first part time Executive Director of the Powhatan Habitat. [While talking] he said, “By the way do you know anybody who wants my job because I’m going to retire,” and I said, “I do!” So as Lord works, He just presented that and I was lucky enough to win it. So I’ve been doing it since January this year. As you know, Habitat builds housing for lowincome families, families that make between 25 and 50% of the median income of the county. Habitat is not a giveaway program. It is a program

“I moved here because of a house; I live here now because of the people.” where we sell houses to people that they help us build and we sell them with a 30 year mortgage at no interest and we are able to build them because of all the wonderful volunteers and donated materials at roughly half of what it would cost in the marketplace. We are blessed this is a wonderful giving community; we have 47 churches in this community; within those churches in and outside are hundreds of people who volunteer all the time so finding volunteers within Powhatan is actually reasonably easy. I think my biggest problem is making sure that everybody who does qualify knows about it and it does apply. I would feel terrible if there is a very deserving family and they didn’t know this opportunity! I have three sons and a daughter. It’s wonderful having them all around and closed by. Powhatan is just a wonderful place to grow up as a kid so they have very fond memories of Powhatan so they do like coming back and that’s probably

why a couple of them never left. They just like being here like Laurie and I do. I’ve been blessed in that three years ago my parents moved here; they were in Maryland with one of my sisters and actually my parents moved here right around the corner from my house in the Village and my sister moved right next door to them so we have more family here now than we ever did. That’s the kind of place that Powhatan is; it’s such a wonderful place to live. My wife and I don’t live in Erin Hill anymore, we moved to the other side of the Village, next to the cemetery; she has said that we were going to move one more time: across the street to the cemetery! However, we have fallen in love with Scottsville…I would rather on Saturday work at Habitat than mow my lawn so by moving in to Scottsville I don’t have to do any of that stuff; I can do good deeds whenever I want. So, at some point we will probably move one more time, and then we’ll move into the cemetery... I moved here because of a house; I live here now because of the people.


I AM Here because

Linwood Jackson

Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

After playing football and graduating from Virginia State, Linwood Jackson tried living in Richmond a year. He move back to Powhatan 16 years ago. This is why he lives here. LJ: I didn’t like [living in Richmond] so I had to come back. It wasn’t for me, too much going on, I didn’t like it, so I came back. I have two [sons], one thirteen and seven. Linwood Junior and Dominique. My mother, she’s from Powhatan. She’s is my pride and joy, my world, my everything. I can talk about my mother all day, she is really special to me.. My grandma was born in Powhatan, too. Everybody I know has been born and raised in Powhatan, even my father. More relatives than I can count. All from Powhatan. Powhatan, to me, is basically a big family. No matter where you go—you go to the smallest little restaurant, you gonna see somebody you know; go to the biggest restaurant, you gonna see somebody you know; and nobody is snobby. That’s one thing that I think is special about Powhatan. I’ve been coaching here for sixteen years. Long time, lotta, lotta kids. I was thinking bout it the other day, sixteen years, thassa long time. Hopin’ it’s sixteen more, as long as Coach Woodson stay. I just love being around here. Just interacting with the kids. Just watch them grow up; some of the players, I coached them in Little League and then they get ready to graduate high school and you go, “Dang, look how time fly!” That’s probably the best thing, just watching the kids from being a little kid to a man. That’s probably the best thing. This team is very special to me. They 12-0. Those kids, they don’t give up; they resilient; no matter how bad you want to talk about them, they just want to

“Those kids, they don’t give up; they resilient; no matter how bad you want to talk about them, they just want to prove you wrong. They some of the best people on that team right there.” prove you wrong. They some of the best people on that team right there. What would I say if something happened that we don’t win? “Guys, as long as you go out there and give it 100%, leave it all on the field, there’s nothing more I can ask of you. The better team won.” It’s nothing else I can say. During the off-season I come in and work out with the kids [in the weight room], just teaching the kids how to run, how to do stuff, just get in shape. It keeps them out of trouble, plus they’re

doing something constructive, they’re here with me and the parents know they’re in really good hands. I treat each one of these kids like my sons. Some kids they call me, talk about stuff, and it don’t have nothing to do about football. “Coach, what you think I should do?” I say, “Hey, you gotta be a man, ya gotta step up.” If they want me to coach them, I coach them. If they don’t want to talk about football we don’t have to talk about football. Sometimes kids just want people to talk to, to sit down, [for someone to] listen to them. And they might not want to talk to their mom and dad, they might want to go to Coach. And Coach might understand, mom and dad might not understand. But eventually, you got to go to mom and dad. It takes a whole lot of patience. I’m satisfied living here in Powhatan, to be honest with you. Satisfied going to work, coming to school coachin’, go on home. That’s basically my day, every day, basically 365 days a year. I mean I go to work at four o’clock in the morning just so I can coach football, come here [to the high school] and coach, and then I go down to the Little League and coach [for] free. I try to set my schedule so I can coach. I see myself just helpin’ kids, just trying to be a role model.


I AM Here because

Frank Vaughn

Interview and Photography by Skip Rowland

Frank Vaughn, a chaplain with the Christian Motorcyclists Association, moved to Powhatan to farm chickens 15 years ago. This is why he lives here. FV: I was a builder, you know, building houses, room additions, and all that stuff [in Toano, near Williamsburg, and] I was really looking to do something else. I came up here one day to hunt with my wife’s uncle (he has a farm on the James River); we was stopped for lunch and he was talking about Tyson expanding. So [we] kept talking and [I] started checking into it some more and I thought, “hmm, grow chickens…I could do that.” And here we are Powhatan. This was the place. We moved here mainly because of the nearness of the church, I’m a Mennonite, I go to Powhatan Mennonite Church. And it was in the chicken area. Those were the two things we really wanted that were important. We were looking in the Eastern Shore, but it did look like home; we went to Harrisonburg, but it was rocks everywhere; but this area just looked like home. This is it. I got three broiler houses, they each hold about 25,000 chickens, so we got 75,000 out there right now. We keep ‘em about five and a half weeks. Tyson brings us baby chicks just hatched, right out of the egg, not even a day old. Some of ‘em even have egg shells stuck on their heads when we put ‘em out. And we grow ‘em and they come and take ‘em and we got two, three weeks maybe between flocks and then they bring us some more. It’s a regular year-round thing. All I have to do is keep ‘em alive. Watch the turkeys out there, there’s been five of them that come out in that field every day, come graze in the grass, big fat turkeys. I’ll just let them walk, I don’t have to shoot them: I got plenty of

“to try to get my wife away from here would be like pullin’ up a stump by hand...don’t think it’s gonna happen.” birds to eat. I miss the Tidewater, [but] we have grandchildren so I think for me to try to get my wife away from here would be like pullin’ up a stump by hand. I just don’t think it’s gonna happen. You have to be “flexible”—that’s a good word for it. I just like the diversity of [Powhatan]. It’s close enough to Richmond, Farmville; anywhere I want to go, I can be there shortly. I like the farm area that’s still around here. I like my family being nearby. It feels comfortable to be here. There’s other counties of course; Amelia’s a beautiful county, Goochland, and Cumberland, a lot of counties around here look good, but

Powhatan just seems like home. In 2003 I think it is, we joined CMA which is a Christian Motorcyclists Association; we started going to their meetings, met a lot of nice people. My wife rides with me. We’re together 31 years, so we’re together with whatever we do—she works out there in them chicken houses. Our main goal is to try to reach the bikers that are looking for a change. Hopefully they want to turn to God and that’s why we’re there, sharing the gospel with these guys of how to get saved, how to know where they’re going to go when they die. I just like being a tool for God to use. [Powhatan has changed in the past 15 years, ] I think. My wife’s father has a sister and her husband were dairy farmers in Powhatan. Of course you know, there’s not but one dairy farmer [left] in Powhatan. Our church probably had 10 dairy farmers in it and now there is only two and they’re not even in Powhatan County [any more]. Those in charge in Powhatan, the powers that be, I think they realize they don’t want it to be, to become like Midlothian, I guess, you know, they want to keep some rural part. That’s good.

I am Here Because  

This is a collection of vignettes about the people of Powhatan County, Virginia, describing in their own words their connection to the count...

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