Spring Brings New Faces to RAOC Board

directors new Left Deborah Stump, Allan Somerville Brown, Betty Browning, Ann Gruner, Anne Buckner

The board of the Rockbridge Area Occupational Center (RAOC) in Buena Vista has had many changes in the last two months: there are new faces, new perspectives, and new energy, all directed toward accomplishing the goals of this organization that serves handicapped adults in the county.

Debbie Reynolds Stump is the new board chairperson who comes to RAOC with both valuable work experience and with a personal understanding of those clients who work at the center. Her sister Robin is a mentally challenged woman who has worked at the center for 25 years and who, Debbie says, “cherishes every day working at RAOC”. Debbie has worked as an event planner, employed by the Marshall Foundation for 15 years as Assistant to the Director of Outreach Programs, and has managed two local restaurants, the Bistro and the Natural Bridge Colonial Dining Room. She is currently the new shift manager for Sheetz in Lexington. She states “I am honored and proud to be a member of the Board of Directors and would like to encourage county residents to support this wonderful organization.”

Anne Riffey Buckner, a new board member, is retired from the Department of Navy as a management analyst and is now active with several community organizations. Like Stump, she also has a handicapped family member, an younger brother who has been employed by the U.S. Postal service for many years. Anne feels that being a board member allows her to help adults like her brother to have gainful employment.

Ann Gruner, another new board member, has past work experience that will be valuable in helping to meet RAOC’s goals. She participated in curriculum development programs for NASA, the National Park Service, and the Howard Hughes Institute. She taught both math and science at the middle school level for 33 years. She has joined RAOC’s board to “give back to the community” despite already being involved with numerous organizations within the county.

Allan Somerville Brown was also looking for a way to contribute to the community even while working as a self -employed software consultant, and so recently joined the RAOC board to fulfill that goal. Brown, originally from Scotland, moved to Lexington in 2001 from Hampshire, England where he worked for IBM as a computer programmer and was active in a number of community organizations. He is now an active member of Lexington Rotary Club and has served several terms on the board.
Maia (Betty) Browning graduated from Lexington High School in 1972. After a career in the National Park Service, she returned to her family’s “home” place in Natural Bridge. She brings to the board a background in management and adult learning.

Other board members include Vice Chair Kathy Kvach, Treasurer Lai Lee, Secretary Kent Wilson, Jennifer Balkey. The Executive Director of RAOC is Roy “Willy” Funkhouser. RAOC hopes that other community members will consider giving their time and effort to the organization and can learn more by visiting https://raoc.org/ or calling the office at 261-6159. In addition, information can be obtained in regard to the services RAOC offers the community that include landscaping maintenance (mulching, mowing, lawn clean up), shredding of documents, outdoor furniture construction, and small outdoor repair jobs.

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