Among the many benefits from the increase in older folks living in our community is their decades of community service. Aging Together honors local citizens who have a long history of contributing to their communities on Saturday, April 11 at the State Theatre in Culpeper — and one of the organization’s “Five Over Fifty” being recognized is Rappahannock County’s own Linda Dietel.
Linda has a long history of volunteerism and philanthropy, in Rappahannock and across the country. You could even say she “wrote the book” on it. (In 2001 she co-authored with her husband, Bill, “The Board Chair Handbook,” published by Board Source.)
The list of Linda’s contributions to her community is long and varied. She chaired the board for Sursum Corda preschool, and was an active board member when that organization became the Child Care and Learning Center. She later chaired the fundraising committee that built the current home of CCLC in Washington. Linda developed the idea of Headwaters, an organization that aids and strengthens the public school system in Rappahannock County and chaired its initial board.
She started a support group for local family caregivers that continues to meet twice a month and provides support for anyone providing care to a spouse or family member with a chronic or terminal illness. The group is, and has been, a source of advice, solace and friendship for many in Rappahannock.
Not one to sit back and just talk about what is needed to support charities and her home community, Linda was a driving force in developing “The Link,” the community center based at the Sperryville Schoolhouse that also served as a home and support for many nonprofit organizations. She also represented Rappahannock County on the advisory group that created the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation.
She has been the chairwoman of the Rappahannock Democratic Committee, and for seven years was on the advisory board for Lord Fairfax Community College. Her other passion is sheep. As owner/chief shepherdess/midwife, she ran Over Jordan Farm, a customized lamb operation that promoted the expansion of natural sheep raising in Virginia.
Linda has been a champion of women’s education and community economic development. With Bill, she ran and was later chair of the board of trustees of the Emma Willard School in Troy, N.Y., the nation’s oldest secondary school for girls. In the early days of urban renewal, she actively volunteered to address community economic development solutions and affordable housing in Troy, a former mill town hard hit by the loss of manufacturing jobs.
She and Bill have five children, 11 grandchildren and two great granddaughters.
This is the second annual “Five Over Fifty” award being given by Aging Together, which works to make sure that all seniors and their families have the support they need. County Administrator John McCarthy will be making the award to Linda Dietel on April 11, and says he is “happy to be asked to introduce so worthy an honoree . . . . Thanks so much for the honor of doing so.”
If you would like to be a part of thanking Linda for her community work, tickets are available for a reception and benefit concert by the Silver Tones Swing Band, starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 11. For more information and tickets, visit agingtogether.org.