Washington column for June 20

From boy to navy seaman

I got to know Steven Nelson over the years, primarily as a boy attending my astronomy meetings at Lord Fairfax Community College. Time certainly has gone by fast. Now the boy I used to know has become a young man, known as Seaman Nelson – he graduated from the Naval Recruit Training Command (NRTC) Boot Camp in Great Lakes, Ill., on May 24.

Seaman Steven Nelson, who recently graduated from the NRTC. Courtesy photo.
Seaman Steven Nelson, who recently graduated from the NRTC. Courtesy photo.

Nelson was in one of the top three divisions (out of 11) at the NRTC and had 80 recruits in his division (890 recruits graduated). He was also honored by being named a “Stick,” along with five others in his division. A stick is someone who carries a flag denoting an area of excellence for his division. His division, 204, was also honored with the Chief of Naval Operations award.

After a 90-minute ceremony, liberty was called and everyone rushed to congratulate their new sailor, said Steven’s mother, Kim Nelson, of Washington’s Hair Gallery. Parents Bruce and Kim were then able to spend about nine hours with their son, who had to get some sleep before his 3 p.m. flight to the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, S.C. Nelson will be there studying to be a nuclear power electrician technician.

His dad and mom are very proud and are looking forward to a trip to see their son for Thanksgiving. “Thank goodness for technology,” said Kim, who was grateful for all the phone calls, texts, emails and photos.

Congratulations and smooth sailing Seaman Nelson! May the wind be ever at your sails!

Breakfast was served

At its all-you-can-eat breakfast fundraiser for Father’s Day, Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue served breakfast for 70 and raised funds to help operate the all-volunteer squad. The WVFR wants to thank everyone who came!


Birthday wishes go out to a dear friend of mine, Helen Smoot, who celebrates her special day on Friday, June 28, and to Walter Nicklin, our publisher, who’s celebrating his day on Saturday, June 29.

Birthday greetings also go out to several employees of the Rappahannock National Bank – Kelly Jo Gilkey Settle, who celebrates her day this Saturday (June 22), and Regional President Michael Leake, who will celebrate his day on Thursday, June 27. Other wishes go out to personal banker Phyllis Grogg, whose special day is Friday, June 28.


Sympathy goes out to the family of Burell Clifford Woodard. Woodard, 78, passed away on June 10 at his home. A memorial service will be conducted at 2 p.m. this Sunday (June 23) at Sperryville’s Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church, with Pastor John Burke officiating.

Woodard was a carpenter experienced in framing and finish carpentry, and was proud of the homes he worked on in Rappahannock County. He was also a truck driver for R.L. Rider Construction. He was active in Gid Brown Bible Baptist Church, in Washington, and enjoyed hunting.