HARRISONBURG — Standing ovations, speeches and accreditation.
The room was filled for Wednesday’s Rockingham County Board of Supervisor meeting, not with high school students filling a requirement for a government class, but with those ready to recognize county employees for their accomplishments.
From rows filled with family and friends to deputies and sergeants, supervisors recognized employees who recently retired as well as showed appreciation for those in public service during Wednesday’s meeting.
Supervisor Rick Chandler was absent.
George Homan was recognized by the board for his public service with Friendship Industries, a nonprofit packaging company located in Harrisonburg that employs people with disabilities.
Homan served as the president of Friendship Industries before retiring over the winter after 43 years with the firm.
“He takes professionalism to a different level; he is one of those people,” said County Administrator Stephen King.
In the 43 years Homan worked with Friendship Industries, King said he grew the amount of employees from 50 to 200.
Supervisors Pablo Cuevas and Mike Breeden presented Homan with a plaque to recognize his years of public service.
“He made an impact on so many people’s lives,” Cuevas said.
Homan, who received a standing ovation, thanked the board for the award.
“Each of us just tries to do what we can for our community,” Homan said. “Thank you.”
Linda Zirkle, a container site coordinator for public works, retired from the county in March after more than 20 years of service.
“She was always the can-do person in our office,” said Philip Rhodes, director of public works. “She was the office mom.”
Zirkle started her journey with the county in 1973, becoming a full-time employee in 2005.
“It’s been a pleasure,” Zirkle said. “It’s like a family, this place is. The container site people are like my children.”
Zirkle was joined by deputy Calvin Taylor, who retired on June 1 with 25 years of service with Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office and jail.
Taylor was presented with the Award of Service Weapons from Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson.
“Calvin taylor started in 1994 in the jail division then went to patrol, then a school resource officer, civil unit and is a certified CPR and firearms instructor,” Hutcheson said. “He leaves a legacy in the past and future.”
Sgt. Wanda Wheeler, who was also recognized for her retirement after 25 years of service with Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office and jail, was unable to attend Wednesday’s meeting. A private ceremony will be held at another time.
Other items on Wednesday’s agenda included adopting an ordinance to formally change the name of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services Board to the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board.
The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services Board was established in 1972 by the board in conjunction with the city of Harrisonburg. The service board has often operated and traded under the name “Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board,” prompting the request to formally change the name.
The board also considered two resolutions, the Revitalization Area Resolution for the Woda Cooper Rowhouse Project at Taylor Spring Lane and the Census Complete Count Committee Resolution.
According to the resolution, the Taylor Spring Lane Revitalization Area is where “industrial, commercial or other economic development of such area will benefit the county, but such area lacks the housing needed to induce manufacturing, industrial, commercial, governmental, educational, entertainment, community development, health care or nonprofit enterprises or undertakings to locate or remain in such area.”
The board was asked to recognize Taylor Spring Lane Revitalization Area, as defined by the Virginia Housing Development Authority, but the board voted to table the resolution until the June 26 meeting to get more information.
The board voted in favor of the Census Complete Count Committee Resolution, establishing a committee to be chaired by Supervisor Bill Kyger.