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Speaker asks Halifax County supes to name bridge after Runt Powell / August 09, 2018
With a new bridge over the Banister River at Wolftrap Road, a citizen has come forward to request that the county name the span in honor of the late Calvin S. “Runt” Powell, owner of Runt’s Grocery.

The request came Monday night at the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Steve Meadows, a past employee of the Virginia Department of Transportation, asked the supervisors to honor the longtime pillar of the Wolftrap community, known for his generosity and kindliness towards others.

“I had known Runt all of my adult life, but only came to know him on a more personal basis after I retired eight years ago and joined the regulars for morning coffee at the store,” Meadows told board members.

“A customer did not have to visit more than twice to become a friend more so than a customer and Runt made it a point to learn their name and information about their family. After that, upon entering the store everyone was greeted by their first name.

“In the last 50 years, Runt provided numerous teenagers their first job. And speaking of teenagers, occasionally when Runt would see a youngster or child take items without paying, he dealt with it by taking them aside and had a long mentoring discussion usually with their parents in attendance. No parent was ever offended, but very appreciative.”

Recounting Powell’s upbringing — one of 14 children living on a farm that was later flooded by the Corps of Engineers — Meadows ran through the highlights of his life: Army veteran, deliveryman for Blue Ribbon Creamery, and later a shopkeeper and grocer. Powell never lost sight of the challenges faced by others, Meadows continued.

“I witnessed him helping those in need both monetarily and with goods,” he said. “A Sunday ritual after church was to visit local nursing homes to visit friends and in so doing made new friends. This ritual was often repeated during the week.

“Runt was not a politician, he never held public office. He was not a doctor or a lawyer, but I think he should be regarded with the same esteem.”

Meadows said that Runt Powell’s widow supported his idea of naming the bridge after her late husband, but did not want to be perceived as pushing the proposal, so Meadows said he decided to speak out Monday night at the board meeting.

Interim County Administrator Dan Sleeper advised that in order for the request to be made, supervisors would have to pass a resolution asking the Commonwealth Transportation Board to name the bridge for Powell. He noted that any naming would have to be for a figure of note — a veteran, politician or well-known members of the community.

Del. James Edmunds has written to board chairman, Dennis Witt, also asking that the bridge be named for Powell. In his letter Edmunds calls “Powell a vital part of our community for many years throughout his involvement not only in the community, but in his church and his friendship to all.”

Also adding his support to the naming of the bridge for Powell was Robert Smart, president of the Hyco Road Ruritan Club, who cited Powell’s many valuable contributions to the community.

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