Whenever I interview someone as part of this project, I come away realizing that each person has their own personal reasons for fighting this landfill. They are all different and as unique as the many reasons people have come to make the area around the proposed landfill their home. I think for Audrey, it is the community itself. She has the peace and quiet she loves so much, but also friends and family around her that make her life so complete. The possible destruction of this community is a tragedy.
Written by Laurie Halligan
When you first meet Audrey you immediately realize you are in the company of a very happy person. She laughs easily, talks freely and seems to enjoy life to the fullest. I had the opportunity to spend a few hours canvassing with Audrey in the Pine Grove community. It’s obvious she cares about her neighbors, which include her brother and sister in law. Along the way, she stops to chat with everyone she sees. She is one of those neighbors who will bring you cookies at Christmas and invite you to a barbeque in the summer. She told me a story about how she had new neighbors and had a hard time getting the chance to welcome them to the neighborhood. When she was home, they were not. One morning she realized they were in front of her as she pulled out of Pine Grove onto Route 60. She followed them and when they stopped to get gas, she jumped out to greet them and introduce herself as their neighbor. You just don’t get any friendlier than that!!!
Audrey was a Powhatan native until she purchased her land in Cumberland in 1993. Five years later she built her house on her 5 acres of peaceful, private land! She was a single woman who now owned her own home. She worked as a respiratory therapist at Southside General Hospital and all was good.
However, I don’t think Audrey knew how happy life could be until one day her co-worker talked her in to meeting a single friend of hers. They met at a coffee shop and talked for hours. On the drive home Audrey said to herself, “I’m going to marry that man.” Little did she know that Ray drove home that morning with the same thought in his mind. They were right-they were married not long after! Today Audrey and Ray (a former cattle farmer) are one of those couples who enjoy everything in life together-Nascar races, fishing, hunting, family and friends.
In 2001, Audrey and Ray moved to Rawlings, Wyoming after she received a management position in the Cardio-Pulmonary Department of Carbon County Memorial Hospital. During this time, they rented out their house in Cumberland. After approximately 8 months these native Virginians started to get homesick. Two things were falling into place that made it easier to sell their home in Wyoming and return to Cumberland; Southside Community hospital offered Audrey her old position back and their tenants were being transferred to another location. The decision was final. They decided to return to Cumberland to stay and eventually retire here.
Some things have changed though over the years. Ray and Audrey are now married 20 years, Audrey works at MCV/VCU and Ray gave up farming and is now a trucker…and of course, a landfill threatens their home.
Last October she found a flyer in her mailbox inviting her to a townhall meeting given by CCLA. This was the first she had heard of the mega-landfill coming to her community and threatening all she loved. Since then Audrey is determined to turn Cumberland County around. She is currently getting signatures to become a candidate for Supervisor in District 1. Not many people put themselves out and take this difficult step, and she’s doing it for all the right reasons. She attends all the CCLA townhall meetings as well as the community meetings at the Pine Grove School. When we realized we needed to canvass the neighborhood and asked for volunteers, Audrey was there….and a natural fit for the job.
Thank you, Audrey, for all you are doing for the benefit of your community!
If you will be adversely affected by the proposed Greenridge landfill, or you would like to refer someone you know, I would like to share your story. Each of you has a unique story of your life and it deserves to be told. Please contact me by email at Lahallig@Gmail.com.