Guests at my Christmas party are routinely invited to give to Shop With a Deputy. I’ve done Angel Tree gifts every year for years. I was a volunteer officer of Company 4 (Flint Hill Fire & Rescue) practically since the day I attended my first meeting. I was president of the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP) for several years, too. I bought a table one year for Headwaters when I was feeling flush despite having no children of my own. Two years ago, I recognized a need at the Food Pantry and helped pull together 15-plus gift bags appropriate for teens. All the things you do without thinking much about it — that’s what has been in the front of my mind since reading Richard Brady’s “Clark Hollow Ramblings” column last week.
It truly doesn’t add up to much compared to what a lot of people do. The Foothills Forum board and advisors and volunteers and funders lead and contribute to many of these same community efforts — Headwaters, Food Pantry, Camp Fantastic, Lions Club, RAAC, Benevolent Fund, RLEP.
I got involved with Foothills Forum because I’d made a fool of myself thinking I knew more than I did as a newcomer 15 years ago (ask the folks at Company 4!). I have since learned much and wanted to uphold Rappahannock’s long tradition of people making decisions about their own community for and by themselves. John McCarthy had told me some years earlier that the board of supervisors could use more information, more data with which to make some of its decisions. That made sense and I never forgot it.
Information isn’t an enemy, but lack of information can be. I came away from my first Foothills Forum meeting feeling very glad to see the work underway. I hoped it might help reach some folks who don’t get heard from often. The community at large funded it. It’s focused on the future and the county’s long-term needs. Pretty straightforward.
People in the county have made great decisions for a long time. As issues get more and more complicated by the world around us, I hope to be useful in supporting good information gathering that people can take or leave when making their own decisions. That’s about the sum of it.