After months of anticipation, the lucky winner was chosen today! Following lunch, Boys Home students and staff gathered in front of the gym to watch the drawing. Congratulations to Bill Lanehart of Covington, VA!
Nine years ago, Martha Atherholt and Wendy Hudler opened Jack Mason’s Tavern, a neighborhood eatery in Clifton Forge, Virginia, named for Martha’s grandfather. In November, their enterprise expanded when they created a brewery next door. The name was appropriately changed to Jack Mason’s Tavern and Brewery.
Ever mindful of the community that supports their business, they immediately began considering ways to make a meaningful contribution to the area. The Five-Cents-Per-Pint program was initiated, focusing on four area nonprofit organizations over a six-month period. When a customer purchases one of their locally-brewed beers at the tavern, they are given a token. As they leave, there are four boxes with the names of four nonprofits on them. The customer surveys the options and deposits a token in the box of their choice. At the end of six months, checks are sent to the four organizations and new nonprofits are selected for the next six months.
Boys Home of Virginia was one of the four organizations chosen for the first six-month period. Wendy says that one of the benefits of the experience is the ability to speak to customers about the non-profits featured and to introduce people from out of town to some of the helping agencies in the area. Martha mentioned that some customers elected not only to deposit their tokens in a box, but also placed money in them to be donated to the organization. When asked why Jack Mason’s initiated the program, Wendy didn’t hesitate to respond. “It’s the right thing to do. People have supported us over the years.”
Interestingly, Boys Home has benefitted from the efforts of the Mason family in generations past. Just inside the doors of the administration building on the main campus of Boys home is a plaque naming the building after George Floyd Rogers, the founder of Boys Home. Also on that plaque is a listing of the trustees during 1964, the time of the building’s dedication. There is listed the name of Mrs. Jack Mason, Martha’s grandmother. It seems that the practice of contributing to Boys Home began several generations ago with Martha’s grandmother and continues to this day.
We are grateful that Martha and Wendy chose Boys Home of Virginia as one of their charity partners. Thanks also to the customers who participated in the program and selected Boys Home as the recipient of their tokens.
Ingevity has provided funds to renovate the gym lobby on the Boys Home campus. Ingevity is based out of North Charleston, South Carolina, but the Covington, Virginia, location spearheaded this project. The ceiling was replaced, followed by updated electrical service. Fresh paint was then applied, new furniture and an area rug were added, along with a pool table, ping pong table, bookshelf, television, and speakers. Door mats, a fire pit, an outdoor table, chairs, and umbrella were also placed outside the Ingevity Student Center.
Ingevity employees, students, and Boys Home staff gathered in May for a dedication which included a ribbon cutting. Three students spoke about why they love their new “hang out.” An elementary student presented and said “I like the ping pong table and TV. I got to watch a movie in here one night with other students and staff. It is a good place to have fun and not worry. Thanks, Ingevity, for making this a special place for us.”
Boys Home is very grateful to the individuals from Ingevity for making this idea a reality for our students! On June 22, Boys Home held a blessing of the Ingevity Student Center by The Rev. Anne Grizzle, chaplain of Boys Home.
Louis Sarratt has joined the staff of Boys Home. Originally from Deep Creek, Virginia, he served in the Air Force and was enrolled in the Navy Reserve for 20 years. Louis and his wife, Sandra, have recently relocated to Covington where he will be assigned special projects on campus. Sensing that God has drawn them here for a purpose, Louis states, “In coming here, we are fulfilling what we know we had to do for God. God had something here to give back to these boys through us.” Students and staff at Boys Home welcome Louis and his wife to the community and wish him well as he settles into his new duties.
Kendall Kessinger has joined the staff of Boys Home as a houseparent. A 2014 Alleghany High School graduate, Kendall received an associate’s degree in instrumentation last May. Kendall became uniquely acquainted with Boys Home when a Boys Home resident entered his English class in 7th grade. Kendall and this new student, Milliyon Fesseha, became fast friends and remain best friends to this day. Milliyon also works at Boys Home as a houseparent, so the two young men now find themselves coworkers. Kendall has five years’ experience working at the Virginia Elks Lodge Youth Camp, which is where he learned that he enjoyed working with youth. Of his role at Boys Home, Kendall states, “I want to be a role model and build a bond with the kids here.” Kendall speaks admirably of his relationships with his three brothers. At Boys Home, he hopes to “set examples based on what I’ve learned while living with my brothers.” Kendall has aspirations of someday coaching football, baseball, and basketball. Students and staff at Boys Home welcome Kendall to the community and wish him all the best as he assumes his new duties on campus.