Chesterfield held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Wednesday afternoon for its new Volunteer Walk of Fame, which is comprised of bricks engraved with the names of volunteers who have provided at least 25 years of service to the county government.
By the end of this year, more than 200 such personalized bricks are expected to be placed in a courtyard area outside Chesterfield’s Community Development Building.
The 18 volunteers recognized Wednesday have a combined 777 years of service with either the police department, fire department, rescue squads, libraries or Parks and Recreation.
“This is an impressive and inspiring group,” said Kevin Carroll, chair of the Board of Supervisors, who was 15 years old when he began serving as a volunteer firefighter in his native Rhode Island. “You all come from different walks of life and bring your unique talents to perform extraordinary acts of service throughout the county. Doing good takes many shapes and forms, and we’re very fortunate to have people in our community who want to give of themselves.”
The initial group of honored volunteers includes:
Bruce Vecchioni (Enon Volunteer Fire Department)
F. W. Blankenship (Wagstaff Circle Volunteer Fire Department)
Dianne Hall (Forest View Rescue Squad)
Stuart Hall (Forest View Rescue Squad)
Shirley Anderson (Forest View Rescue Squad)
John Hilliard (Forest View Rescue Squad)
J.C. Phillips (Forest View Rescue Squad)
Fran Phillips (Forest View Rescue Squad)
Joyce Williams (Forest View Rescue Squad)
Lois Little (Manchester Rescue Squad)
Andrea Brown (Friends of Chesterfield County Public Library)
Carl S. Coles (Parks and Recreation)
Paul Carnes (Police)
Joan Cole (Police)
Thomas Hoof (Police)
Michael Laffoon (Police)
Robert Schrum (Police)
Stuart Morrell (Police)
“Today we ask not what people can do for our county, but what we as local government can do to give a small token of appreciation and thanks for the commitment that has been given to Chesterfield,” said Emily Ashley, director of the county’s Citizen Information and Resources Department, quoting from President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address.
“There are countless stories and experiences that go beyond the years of service, in many ways shaping who we are as a community,” she added. “For our honorees today, know that you are inspiring future generations to volunteer. Those who are active in this space will see your names, ask about your stories and commit to giving back to the community.”
The Volunteer Walk of Fame is modeled after a recognition program that provides engraved bricks for county employees who retire with at least 25 years of service to Chesterfield.
County Administrator Dr. Joe Casey frequently hears from citizens praising the work of a certain county employee, only to determine that the “employee” in question was actually a volunteer.
“That’s probably the best compliment I could give – that the volunteers of Chesterfield County act as stewards of the county, with the responsibilities and accountability that goes with it,” he said.
Casey also noted the value of such volunteer service would be measured “in the millions upon millions of dollars.”
“Beyond the money, though, I think somebody who volunteers with Chesterfield County also takes away pride in their county and shares that with their family and neighbors,” he added. “It’s often said that volunteers don’t have the time to do the things they do. What they have is the heart to do it.”