Editorial: Class acts
One pleasure of producing a community newspaper is the opportunity to focus light on the good news happening around us. There is no shortage here: groups doing wonderful things for people in need, schools and their personnel working overtime to train our young people, churches feeding the hungry … and much more.
All that being true, three pieces of news we have printed recently stand out to us as representing Gloucester and Mathews people standing at the head of the class.
First in this spotlight was the Rev. Dr. Robert Diggs Sr., who grew up at Cardinal, graduated from Mathews High School, went on to Norfolk State and the Army, later became an Army chaplain, and finally settled into the ministry at a church in Petersburg.
From that base, Diggs has worked to improve the challenged community which he serves, most notably in providing decent places to live for elderly neighbors. Young people are helped with a community center. Diggs and his church members are not hearers of the word only, but doers as well. In receiving the top Groundbreaker award of the Better Housing Coalition in Richmond, he reportedly cleared the stage and called up one, two, a dozen, and more people who have worked with him to achieve this, deflecting his moment in the spotlight onto a host of others.
Literally near the top of the heap is newly-three-starred Vice Admiral William Andrew Brown, graduate of Gloucester High School and VMI, who has worked his way up the U. S. Navy’s ladder.
There is not much room at the top for admirals, and Vice Admiral Brown is now one step from the highest rung. He serves as deputy director of the U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. His hometown is proud of him.
Then there are Bob and Lynn Ripley, the Gloucester couple who struck historic gold at their home on Purtan Bay on the York River. More than a decade ago Lynn was walking her dog and came across a concentration of Indian artifacts. Archaeologists converged, dug, measured, studied and announced that the historic home of Chief Powhatan had been discovered. Powhatan, Pocahontas, John Smith and other notable figures from 400 years ago had lived, parlyed, talked and walked upon their land.
Instead of closing the gates, the Ripleys have encouraged continued study, placed the land in a state of perpetual conservation, and have been most generous in sharing the gift with historians and the public. Their gift of access keeps on giving … and they have received awards from Scenic Virginia and Preservation Virginia, so far, to recognize their dedication to preserving the site. What lay covered for 400 years, which has been exposed, has a new layer of protection.