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BRIDGE OF HONOR

South Boston News
Members of the community gathered Sunday for the dedication of the Runt Powell Memorial Bridge over the Banister River, on Wolf Trap Road near Scottsburg. The bridge honors the late Calvin Stover “Runt” Powell, who owned and operated Runt’s Store on James D. Hagood Highway for 49 years until his death in 2017. Shown under the highway marker are members of his family, from left: Garry Slagle, Lindsey Slagle, Jennifer Powell Slagle, Bruce Slagle, Vince Warren, Diane Powell (widow of Runt Powell), Jenna Warren, Audrey Powell Warren and Troy Warren. They were joined by Del. James Edmunds (second from right) and Steve Meadows (right), who led the effort to have the bridge named after Powell.
SoVaNow.com / February 11, 2019
Family and friends of the late Calvin S. “Runt” Powell gathered Sunday at the Banister River near Scottsburg to celebrate the naming of the Runt Powell Memorial Bridge in honor of the longtime store proprietor, who died in August 2017.

Powell, who owned and operated Runt’s Store on James D. Hagood Highway for 49 years before his passing at age 79, lived on Wolf Trap Road up from the bridge along with his wife, Diane, also co-owner of Runt’s Store. On Sunday afternoon, Mrs. Powell was joined by two generations of family and dozens of friends for the dedication and unveiling of bridge markers in her late husband’s memory.

“We’re really appreciative,” she said of the honor. “I think he deserved it, but he’d never say that.”

The recognition was sought by Steve Meadows, a past employee of the Virginia Department of Transportation and friend and frequent customer at Runt’s Store, which long has served as a gathering spot for people living in Scottsburg, South Boston and nearby areas.

“We all know what a fixture Runt was in the community. We all know what a fixture his store was and is in the community, and lastly, we know a fixture his family is in this community,” said Meadows.

“So it is only fitting that Runt be remembered in this manner,” he added

Last year, at Meadows’ urging, the Halifax County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution asking that the bridge be named after Powell, and Del. James Edmunds offered his support for the idea. Supervisors Joseph Rogers and Jeff Francisco and Edmunds were on hand for Sunday’s marker dedication, which has signs on both sides of the river.

“The river running through here reminds me of Runt’s spirit — meandering and making friends as it goes by,” said Meadows.

Meadows drew laughter from the crowd that witnessed the event as he described one of the delays in getting the signs erected — the time it took to convince VDOT to use Powell’s nickname.

“[VDOT’s] number one rule is that they don’t allow nicknames” on highway markers, said Meadows. “But with a little persistence and reminding VDOT that the rule had previously been bent a little, VDOT agreed to allow ‘Runt’ to appear on the sign.”

Even so, “they wanted a signed agreement with the family acknowledging the use of ‘Runt,’” Meadows said with a smile.

He also thanked VDOT and members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board for their approval of the idea and noted that Edmunds offered important early support.

“He thought it was a great idea,” said Meadows.



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