• By Lauren Hanna
  • Posted:
  • Alumni, News, Uncategorized

Pete Nunnally Serves as Chaplain Intern at Boys Home this Summer

Boys Home is delighted to welcome Pete Nunnally to campus this summer. He is working on his field education internship from Virginia Theological Seminary. Pete brings a unique history to his service, as his father, Mike Nunnally, was a resident at Boys Home and currently the basketball coach. Pete also brings a wealth of experience as a teacher, mission director, and youth minister prior to going to seminary.

Pete brought his guitar along to a recent campfire, offering singing and story telling along with s’mores. During chapel over the last school year, he led the boys in singing “Wade in the Water” and told the story of his own faith journey. More recently, he has engaged the boys in making and praying with Anglican prayer beads. During the summer evenings, he is offering a sunset compline service. Pete brings a keen listening heart, eager engagement, and deep faith to his service at Boys Home.


A biography from Pete Nunnally:

I was born and raised in Sterling, Virginia, and grew up hearing stories of Boys Home from my father Mike, who lived at Boys Home from 1956-1963. After graduating from Bridgewater College in 2001, I taught middle school physical education for 6 years before moving to New Orleans in 2008 to rebuild houses with the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. While in New Orleans, I became the volunteer coordinator for the Rebuild Program and later, Program Director for Living With Purpose, an Episcopal Service Corps program. Upon returning to Virginia in 2014, I became Director of Spiritual Formation and Youth Ministries for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond until enrolling at Virginia Theological Seminary in 2017. I am passionate about God’s dream for our lives, good music, people, reconciliation, social justice, and building true community that shimmers with the hope of the Kingdom of God. My experience at St. George’s Camp at Shrine Mont taught me that all God’s children are part of the Body of Christ and worthy of dignity and love, while my time in New Orleans instilled in me a passion for racial reconciliation and systemic change. I am a cradle Episcopalian and am deeply thankful for the richness of our tradition and its commitment to a sacramental corporate prayer life and a textured individual spiritual journey in which we search daily for the sacred in places expected and unexpected. 


An entry from Pete Nunnally:

I remember wishing as a kid that I could grow up at Boys Home. The stories Dad told about Boys Home and its residents and staff were so alive and electric, as though somehow life here was just…more. I have been at Boys Home as a chaplain for two and a half weeks. I have also been at Boys Home since 1956, when, after becoming a ward of the state and a brief stint in foster care, my father was brought here. These two realities are slowly weaving into one narrative about dislocation, struggle, hope, and redemption.

On the evening of my first day here, after prayer time with Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Sarratt and Mrs. Gordon, chapel time with the boys, and discipleship groups with each cottage, we had dinner. Eating dinner in the dining hall, I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was sharing the space with my 14-year old father, a skinny kid with a bright smile and big dreams. I remembered the story he told about when they used to turn out the lights to sing happy birthday during meals. When the lights came back on someone’s head had spaghetti dripping all over it. Today this would garner a whole bunch of demerits.

Dusk spread over my first evening and I sat under the trees by the field and watched boys run and play. Laughter and shouts drifted across the field and through time. Thousands of boys have romped in this field as evenings fell, pale skies slowly darkening to deep mountain blue, like a friend who doesn’t want to go home. Star after star began to twinkle their nighttime hello, the same stars that have shined over so many lives and so many boys. This wasn’t just a beautiful summer mountain night. It was something…more.

In the days since my first evening, I’ve spent time with all the boys and met most of the staff. Things have changed since the 50s and 60s, and even since the 90s and 2000s, and they are also the same. The boys that are here have lived lives of disruption. The individual levels of disruption may vary, but this much is clear: Boys Home is, and always will be, a place where boys find stability, consistency, and love. A place where former Boys Home boys come back to work, and where the staff pour out themselves, their love, and comfort like the Spirit spreading over the watery chaos of creation. Indeed, something new is being created here. Boys Home seems to me at this early stage in my time here as a wellspring of hope for boys who may not have any. A place of healing for those carrying deep wounds. And a place where God’s presence twinkles over the mountains, ripples through the bends of Dunlap Creek, and sparkles across the field in muffled shouts as evening descends, waiting for the new day God has promised.

Chaplain Intern Pete Nunnally 


Alumnus and Basketball Coach, Mike Nunnally with son, Pete Nunnally

  • By Elaine Brelsford
  • Posted:
  • Events, News

Mission Group from Portsmouth Gets Things Done!

From Sunday, May 19, through Friday, May 24, Boys Home of Virginia hosted a fantastic group of volunteers on campus. The group consisted of six men from Trinity Episcopal Church, in Portsmouth, VA, led by Paul Radford. They arrived on Sunday in time for a picnic, had a short evening to relax, and then got right to work!

On Monday morning, the group began the restoration of an old fence around the cemetery in the lower field. With the help of Louis Sarratt, who is in charge of special projects at Boys Home, the group cleared the brush away from the site, disposed of the old chain-link fencing, righted the metal fence posts, capped them with wooden posts, and installed a gate and fence rails. Some volunteers even helped mill the fence rails!

The connection with Trinity in Portsmouth began several years ago, when Boys Home executive director Donnie Wheatley visited the church to spread the word about Boys Home. His visit led to a dialogue with the pastor, and later on led to a mission group traveling to Covington to volunteer on campus. Paul Radford was one of the first to attend, and he hasn’t missed a trip since.

“I just fell in love with Boys Home,” he says. In his five years of volunteering, he’s helped with repairing buildings on the farm, fencing, painting, rebuilding bleachers, and various garden and farm projects. This year’s group is primarily made up of retirees, four of whom have attended trips in previous years. Cameron Ballinger rounded out the group as the youngest participant, providing some new energy and earning volunteer hours toward his high school graduation next year. Boys Home is especially grateful for such dedicated help!

  • By Lauren Hanna
  • Posted:
  • News

Boys Home Hilltoppers Finish 2018-2019 Basketball Season

Mike Nunnally was named Boys Home Hilltopper head coach for the 2018-2019 basketball season. Coach Nunnally first came to Boys Home of Virginia in 1956 at 12 years old. He stayed at Boys Home until he graduated from Covington High School in 1963. During his time at Boys Home, the most influential people to him were Executive Director Bob Burrowes, houseparent Francis “Granny” Myers, and most of all his coach, mentor, and father figure, Paul Siple. Coach Nunnally lived in Greene Cottage with his best friend, Pete Dimick, and later named his son after Pete. As a child, Coach Nunnally was blessed with athletic ability, which Coach Siple nurtured. Coach Nunnally played basketball and baseball at Boys Home and then continued to play both of those sports at Bridgewater College.

When asked to give a synopsis of the season, Coach Nunnally answered, “We started slowly, as we had three players with limited experience on the court. The remainder of our players had played on a basketball team before. Our schedule did not help our slow start since our first twelve games were away. We started with thirteen players and actually added four players over the course of the season. We ended the season with eight players. The turnover of players hampered the development of the team. After Christmas vacation, we started to find our footing and won seven of our remaining fifteen games. Our overall record was 9-16 and we finished the season on a high note by taking second place in the NLCA Invitational Tournament. Our team was constantly praised by opposing coaches and fans for our disciplined play, effort, and the good sportsmanship our team displayed.”

After asking Coach Nunnally if it was what he expected he said, “I knew coming in that I was taking on a team with little experience, so I knew we would struggle early on. I did not expect to lose so many players for one reason or another during the season, so that was definitely a surprise. I knew that we would get better as the season progressed and the boys that stuck with it all the way to the end proved me right.”

Coach Nunnally said that some of his favorite things about coaching this season was helping to mold a team and watching them improve over the course of the season. He said the players learned to play for each other and not just for themselves. Coach Nunnally’s favorite memory was watching the team work hard to get better every single day and he truly saw the results as they defeated three teams that beat them the first time around. They also ended the season with nine 3-pointers in one game, a new Boys Home Hilltopper record!

Coach Mike Nunnally is already excited for the 2019-2020 basketball season and said as long as the boys work hard during the offseason, the Hilltoppers will surprise many teams next year!

Thank you, Coach Nunnally, for all your time, dedication, and patience that you poured into the Boys Home players this season. We are excited to see what the 2019-2020 season has in store!

  • By Elaine Brelsford
  • Posted:
  • Events, News, Uncategorized

Carl Blacke

Boys Home of Virginia is sad to announce the death of Mr. Carl Blacke. He served at Boys Home for over 15 years in various capacities and was most recently a houseparent. The entire Boys Home community will miss the kindnesses that he extended to both students and staff.

The funeral will be Saturday, March 9 at Glasgow Baptist Church, 805 10th Street Glasgow, VA at 1:00 p.m. Visitation will be 12-1 prior to funeral. Reception will take place at Community Center about a mile from the church.

  • By Lauren Hanna
  • Posted:
  • Activities, News, Uncategorized

A Note from Chaplain Anne Grizzle: Bishop Curry

Six students from Boys Home opened up the Friday evening Eucharist of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia’s Convention on January 25, 2019. They sang “This Joy That I Have the World Didn’t Give It To Me” while playing the drums. After singing the song through twice, they invited everyone to sing along. The audience rose to their feet and began clapping and singing along. The students practiced hard in order to be able to offer this opening song. Great job to Christian, Alvin, Ben, Jason, Khean, and Phillip! The students were surprised and delighted with Bishop Michael Curry came over to greet them personally, offering a hug and bishop’s pin. Bishop Curry also signed books that were given to each of these students at the chapel service at Boys Home the following week.

All of the students from Boys Home went to Roanoke for the Episcopal Revival on Sunday, January 27, 2019 at the Berglund Performing Arts Center. The musical group Live Hymnal offered inspiring music and Bishop Curry gave a lively sermon about following Jesus’ way of love. Afterwards, the students at Boys Home stopped by St. James Episcopal Church in Roanoke for a Sunday dinner prepared by Gary Price from Boys Home. The fellowship from St. James parishioners and the Sudanese community made for a festive and fun conclusion to a very memorable outing!