Published 7:16 pm Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Editor, Smithfield Times
I am the daughter of a Wisconsin dairy farmer mother and a Swedish immigrant father, with an appreciation for the rich agricultural resources in our region. While have lived in Chesapeake and Smithfield for almost 20 years, I am not native born. My children are, however, and they attend Isle of Wight Academy, a school we feel particularly blessed to attend.
I first got to know Mrs. Darden through a missions fundraising dog treat business my children and I began to attend a music ministry trip to Austria. Through her ham pot liquor, ham ends, peanuts and a few really good ideas, Dee Dee has not only helped us share the Gospel in Austria but also has been an example of hard work and entrepreneurial success to my kids, especially to my daughter.
I liked Dee Dee from the day I met her. While much younger, Dee Dee reminds me of my beloved and equally hard working grandmother Dorothy, who we miss every day. Dee Dee is plainly and simply a good neighbor. I have many good neighbors, but she is special in her hands-on contribution to the success of a little girl’s efforts to run a business and her mom’s attempt to help her. She has been a great example to my kids and me of hard work and loyalty to family and town. She has made a Midwestern farmer’s daughter feel a lot less foreign and a lot more at home. I don’t think she ever really even cared that we were not local. She just rose to the occasion to use her resources, gained from her own hard work, to help us, expecting nothing in return. That is the heart of a servant leader that I hope my children will emulate, and who I will choose to serve on the Board of Supervisors.
We have had the fun of seeing her like a rock star on Board of Supervisors meetings on television. I appreciate her efforts to pave some much-traveled roads that we use to access IWA from our home. What an example for my kids! What an example for their mom. As country miles go, Dee Dee Darden is not our closest neighbor, but she is certainly a good neighbor. Long my you run Dee Dee, long may you run.