Mak­ing it all hap­pen… for the kids

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT -

BY MARK RAIFORD

When my fa­ther de­cided to move his fam­ily from Vi­enna to Rap­pa­han­nock County in the sum­mer of 1973, a weekly stop at Hack­ley’s Store was def­i­nitely on this 10-year-old boy’s high­lights tour.

A cold Coke and oat­meal pie was the per­fect treat on a warm sum­mer’s day! I re­mem­ber be­ing duly im­pressed when I saw a young teenager by the name of Stan Set­tle work­ing in the store.Whether load­ing feed in a cus­tomer’s truck or pack­ing up some of Gra­ham Hack­ley’s home­made sausage, he seemed to be Mr. Hack­ley’s right hand man.

The job, or torch if you will, was even­tu­ally passed to Stan’s younger brother, Phil. Soon af­ter Phil went on to bet­ter things the Blevin broth­ers, Brian and Win­field, came along to fill the op­por­tu­nity Hack­ley’s store pro­vided.

By no means was Hack­ley’s the only source of em­ploy­ment for the young men and women of the

county, but even Gra­ham couldn’t have imag­ined the Rap­pa­han­nock of to­day.

All one has to do is take a stroll down the Main Streets of Sperryville or Lit­tle Wash­ing­ton to see the trans­for­ma­tion that has taken place over the last 45 years.

Poke your head into any busi­ness around the county and you’re sure to see the friendly and fa­mil­iar face of a lo­cal school kid hard at work. The Cor­ner Store “Com­plex,” Wil­liams Or­chard, Knit Wit, The Happy Camper and Be­fore & Af­ter, where my daugh­ter and a few of her friends work, are just a hand­ful of lo­cal small busi­nesses mak­ing a huge dif­fer­ence in sev­eral young lives. Cheri Woodard Realty even em­ploys sum­mer in­terns.

Un­like the changes we see in our neigh­bor­ing coun­ties, ours has been gen­tle and well thought-out. We owe this fact to the cur­rent and past lead­er­ship of this county. Tem­per­ate growth, both eco­nomic and de­vel­op­men­tal, does not hap­pen by ac­ci­dent or mere chance, it is a re­sult of forces work­ing to­gether.

And if our past is fore­telling of our fu­ture, I be­lieve we can com­fort­ably em­brace new, well-thoughtout ideas and work to­gether to ac­com­plish great things that will en­hance our won­der­ful county for gen­er­a­tions to come.

To quote Wil­liam Bur­roughs, “When you stop grow­ing (gen­tly) you start dy­ing.”

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