Avoca hosts annual volunteer dinner

Avoca board member Virginia Clark, left, and Board of Directors President Joan Woodson pose for a photo after the presentation of the Sustained Service Award.

The Avoca Museum and Historical Society’s Board of Directors hosted its annual Volunteer Dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 19, with 45 volunteers attending the event which was held at The Altavista Train Station.

The dinner, catered by Sisterly Ways, was followed by an awards presentation honoring Avoca Board of Directors’ Member and volunteer Virginia Clark, winner of this year’s Sustained Service Award which recognizes long-time service to the museum.

Clark, an Avoca volunteer for 20-plus years and a board member since about 1997, said she was “shocked” to receive the honor. “That was the last thing that was on my mind, that I would get it,” Clark said about the award. “I was overwhelmed.”

“Avoca continues to thrive due to the many talents so unselfishly shared,” said Avoca Board President Joan Woodson who presented Clark with the award. “Virginia Clark was awarded the Sustained Service Award for her dedicated service in a variety of areas at the museum.”

Clark has a long history of public service, both at the museum and for Campbell County Public Schools, retiring in 2007 after working 37 years – her entire career -- at Altavista High School, first as a teacher and for the remaining 16 years as assistant principal. After retiring from the school system, Clark, never one to sit still, quickly went back to work, serving as the principal of Blairs Day School in Danville from 2007 to 2017, all the while donating her time and talents as an Avoca volunteer and a board member.

Volunteering at the museum became an “outlet” which she enjoyed, especially Student Event Day, an annual event which brought hundreds of elementary school-age children to the museum for fun, history-oriented educational activities.

“I enjoyed working with the young kids,” said Clark, who, having spent her educational career working with teenagers, found the younger children a welcomed departure. “It was interesting to work with the smaller ones.”

These days, Clark can be found in Avoca’s gift shop a few days a month, selling souvenirs and tour tickets to visitors. When she’s not working behind the cash register, she works diligently to keep things tidy, particularly the porches and brick pathways outside of the museum’s visitor center.

 “I’ve enjoyed my time (at Avoca). It’s been very rewarding,” Clark said.

*Avoca’s second volunteer award, one for Superior Service, will be presented during the museum’s annual Members’ Christmas Party to be held Tuesday, Dec. 14, at the museum. Avoca Museum’s next event is Christmas at Avoca, 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 4, 5, 11, and 12. The event features holiday decorations throughout the mansion, refreshments, a silent auction and musical entertainment. Tickets are $5 for ages 12 and older and can be purchased at the museum’s gift shop on the days of the events. Ages 11 and younger admitted free.