By: Michael Campbell, News Editor
DINWIDDIE – For any person, reflecting on the past can serve to bring back memories of special moments, achievements, and experiences that shaped them into the individual they are today.
Wednesday, it was hard for longtime supervisor Harrison Moody to not reflect on his thirty years on the Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors as mementos of the past, such as newspaper clippings and photographs, adorned tables and screens at the Eastside Enhancement Center as the community came together to celebrate his three decades of service to the county during a special reception.
Nominated by the late, Mr. Aubry S. Clay, who served 29 years on the Board, Moody was one of six citizens vying for the position of District 1 Supervisor, vacant in 1987 following the resignation of Mr. George S. Bennett, Jr. On March 18, 1987, the Board of Supervisors held a vote and Mr. Moody was appointed to fill the vacancy.
Thirty years later, Harrison Moody continues to represent the residents of District 1, having been elected to seven terms. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board.
Walking around the venue, Moody looked at some of the defining moments in the county’s history, such as Walmart’s announcement of their intent to open their distribution center in Dinwiddie in the early 1990s and shared his thoughts about the anniversary.
“I feel like we have gotten a lot of things accomplished and it’s something I don’t want to take the honors for because it truly was a group effort with the boards I have worked with,” he remarked. “From economic development to the good schools that we have here, I feel very good about the progress we have made here in Dinwiddie.”
A pair of actions that stuck out to Moody as he talked about his thirty years on the Board came early in his time with the governing body as he worked with supervisors to develop a recreation program in Dinwiddie, the first of its kind, and their work to support farmers in the county as they agreed to end farm machinery taxes, helping to alleviate the burden on the agricultural community of the county, which continues to be part of the rich fabric of Dinwiddie.
He added that economic development was, and continues to be, a key initiative for him and the Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors.
“Getting that industrial development helps lessen the burden on our citizens,” Moody continued. “We want to continue to provide a good tax base and jobs for the county.”
For someone like Moody, who is now the longest serving supervisor in Dinwiddie County history, his wealth of experience is something that board members and county leaders lean on in their decision-making processes, a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly.
“It is always good to have somebody on the Board that has some experience because they can relay how things happened when the other board members weren’t there, so you can bring back the history and look to the future to make a decision based on the both of those,” he explained.
Having worked with Moody for half of his years on the Board, County Administrator Kevin Massengill talked about his own experiences working with the longtime supervisor, praising him for his integrity and leadership.
“He has been instrumental in the progress made by Dinwiddie County, and through his work with the Virginia Association and Counties and National Association of Counties, has facilitated recognition of the County on both state and national levels,” he shared, adding that Moody has had a strong understanding of maintaining the county’s balance of agriculture and farming while working with the board to attract new businesses to the county, such as recent additions Amazon and ALDI.
Also in attendance for Wednesday’s celebration, State Senator Rosalyn Dance said Moody has played a key role in her own political experience over the years, dating back to the 1990s and her time as a Petersburg city councilwoman and mayor.
“One of the things that I thought was important was, as a new mayor, to reach out to the mayors of Colonial Heights and Hopewell, and we eventually expanded to the counties of Dinwiddie, Prince George, and Chesterfield,” she shared. “We would come to each other’s locality to find out what we can do together.”
Dance explained as she moved from local to state-level politics in her successful bid for a seat in the House of Delegates, she said Moody was an important part of helping her learn about the community and its needs, something that continues now as she serves in the State Senate.
“He is at that point now where he will reach out to me directly and tell me the county’s position on something, working to make sure I know what they believe is best for Dinwiddie,” she remarked. “The Board represents the people, and I am their voice. It’s a relationship that I have maintained and respect with Moody and the entire board as a whole.”
Taking in the event was Harrison’s wife, Debbie, who discussed how the husband, father, and grandfather is outside the boardroom, echoing many of the comments from members of the community during Wednesday’s event.
“This is truly a labor of love for him,” she revealed. “I have seen him really take issues genuinely to heart and worry about them. I am just so proud of him and he is a good-hearted man.”
“The scripture he ran on was to look at other’s interests before yourself and that is something he does for Dinwiddie, where he was born and raised, in an effort to see it go forward, but not change to the point that it is unrecognizable,” Debbie continued.
Both Harrison and Debbie looked at a plaque provided by the county for his achievement, a token of appreciation from Dinwiddie for the over 10,000 days of continuous service Moody has given to the county.
“I feel truly blessed to have been able to serve on the Dinwiddie County Board of Supervisors for the past 30 years.” Moody went on to say. “As proud as I am of how far we’ve come, I am even more excited about where we are headed.”
When asked about his future on the Board and if he has considered running for re-election in 2020, he simply said only time will tell.
“I think that is a question I will look at in a couple years,” Moody remarked.
For his District 1 constituents, he had a simple, but heartfelt message.
“I just want to thank them for their confidence in allowing me to serve,” Moody said. “It’s not any day that you are entrusted with them giving you the ability to serve for them and decide on issues that are important to the county. I truly thank them for that.”
Copyright 2017 by Womack Publishing
Images: The Dinwiddie Monitor / Michael Campbell