It’s a fine thing to grow up in a beautiful area. It’s finer still to have traveled and lived away—in places that are beautiful in their own right—and returned to find that time and memory had not deceived; the place of our origin is as majestic as nostalgia would have us believe.
That’s how I feel about the Shenandoah Valley and this community I call home. I was raised in Harrisonburg and Rockingham and had the good fortune to experience living in various cities up and down the east coast and abroad. But when my husband and I had the opportunity to make a career change, we brought ourselves right back here—surrounded by the landscape and the people we love most—becoming once again immersed in Valley life. The gift of perspective that comes from having left and then returned is never lost on me.
Heading up Rocktown History has only deepened my connection to the people and institutions of our area. My position here—leading the remarkable staff and volunteers who protect and promote our local history—allows me to see the community through a lens that reveals common threads that join us all together. Taken as a whole, those common threads become a tapestry depicting one shared community story that shows just how much more alike we are than different. Historical context brings into focus our interconnectedness and makes clear our shared values of faith, family, hard work, endurance, education, creativity, and celebration.
Our unique community story, and the ways in which we support and rely on each other, is the foundation for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County’s yearly Great Community Give. On this day we come together to recognize that each of us has needs, but also gifts to give. Nonprofits are where we can give and get, which makes our community stronger. That is why Rocktown History has chosen to participate in this community day of giving for the last five years.
The ties that bind us today are the same as they ever were, and they are what lead people like me back home. From the captivating landscape to our vibrant collective identity, Harrisonburg and Rockingham County are where my heart is.
So, from one community lover to another, see you on April 19th!