Letter – Stepping up for tour guide

Published 5:18 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Two Saturdays ago, county and town employees rallied to the aid of a history tour guide with car trouble.

At noon on Oct. 1 I had just finished up my last-of-the-season “Courthouse Complex” walking tour at Boykin’s Tavern. To my chagrin, my pick-em-up truck battery was dead. Panic! My next local history tour (publicly scheduled for 10 months) was 2 p.m. at Carrollton’s Cold War Nike-Ajax missile base. I called AAA. They could not arrive until 1:30. Too late, more panic.

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I called Jennifer England, Isle of Wight County director of historic resources, who sponsors these tours. Through the Tourism Department’s Kathy Mountjoy, the department’s own Robert Cox was dispatched with jump cables. Desperately searching for a numerical address to give the AAA lady in Michigan (I always ask where they are!) on any of the Historic District buildings, I ended up at the county emergency dispatch call center at the Sheriff’s Office.

Unable to locate a close-by deputy, my heroine, dispatcher Beth Jewell, came to the rescue. She drove her own car up next to my truck and, using her jump cables (I had none), we got my red Dakota running again. After profusely thanking her, I then called to thank Bob Cox for responding (he was on the way), canceled AAA and raced (not over 55 mph) back home to change reenactment outfits for my 2 p.m. walking tour in Carrollton.

This is a wonderful example of people helping people here in Isle of Wight County to ensure a successful museum event that hosted 15 guests from all around Hampton Roads. They learned the dramatic backstory of our county’s most recently designated National Historic District (Anti-Aircraft Missile Base N-75L) in “Nike” Park.

A grateful thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to tell others of our storied local history!


Albert P. Burckard Jr.