Von Wellington: Community Strong Person of the Year 2016

Von Wellington is a graduate of Liberty University with a bachelor’s degree in Christian Leadership and has received a certification in Science and Technology of Visual Arts. Von also holds Associate of Applied Science (Digital Film & Video Technology/ Animation) degree from Piedmont Community College in Yanceyville.

Von organized Wellington Film Group LLC in 2012 and Von Wellington Photography LLC in 2013. In 2014, Von created Well Works Visual Arts, Inc. in an effort to engage communities in the Dan River Region and youths in digital technology and photography. His passion in media arts and digital photography is expressed through his talented work and creative products as seen throughout community-based programs and past and present multimedia events. Well Works Visual Arts, Inc. was designed to provide resources and a course curriculum to expose participants to media content careers in the digital arts industry. Von has worked with numerous community leaders on special projects and small ventures in support of community and economic development.

Why is community involvement so important to you?

Community Involvement is close to my heart. It should be a lifetime obligation for all because it’s a great importance to commit to the improvement of our Dan River Region community. Each Danvillian should be dedicated in the help of increasing the education, art, and living experience in the Dan River Region. It’s a joy to help my community’s organizations, businesses, and I encourage all to get involved in and help make a difference in the lives of others living here. As part of community involvement, we have to listen to what the needs are of the citizens of the region so that decision makers can execute the best and correct decisions as possibly needed.

What inspires you to volunteer?

Volunteering is a call of duty for each and every person. Having a lot of love and compassion for others is the “key” to living a long happy life, and it makes you feel great inside to help others. The inspiration comes from being aware of various social issues in my community and jumping right in to be a catalyst to help shift the mindsets of the youth. Seeing them smile knowing now they can “re-imagine” too… and by starting young to make their lives better is being an asset to their parents and community, and that makes a huge difference.

How do you balance life, work, and community involvement?

Balancing life for me is a daily fun-loving nonstop task. Master your time. Always realize and understand that one must utilize their time every second of each hour. Life for me is constant work. God first, family, health and education second, and work is last. Work is my passion, make it yours’ and you will find balance within something you love doing. In Danville, there’s  always something to do or attend, and someone, some organization, or some company is always planning an event.

What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

Place God first in your life and everything else will fall into place.

Who are your real life heroes and why?

My heroes are local and visible. One is Mr. William Gentry (Golden Leaf Bistro, Piedmont Lands of Virginia LLC.), a local businessman who wanted a way out and has created an opportunity for himself and others. He would always say, “Von, no one will tell you anything, you must learn it all on your own”. Mr. Rick Barker (Supply Resources, Inc.) is another one of my heroes. He is a great developer who is an entrepreneur such as myself. Mr. Barker is transforming an entire block on Craghead Street. When you have guys like this working in your community, it ensures that our community will be safe and full of positivity. Next are Mr. Steven (Byrnes Gould Law) and Mrs. Missy Gould (The Nature Conservancy). A power couple! In their presence, you will feel the importance of professionalism.  From healthy outdoor expeditions to politics they have it intact. Saving the best for last I would say, Ms. Lori Merricks (Danville Regional Foundation). Ms. Lori is awesome, and she raises the bar with each and every new challenging project she accomplishes making others whom work alongside her better. Much respect!

What is it about Danville that makes it special to you?

Danville is magical! We have great leaders, heroes, and business owners who care about the livelihood of the people who live here. are out in the community and are very approachable like our awesome Sheriff Mike Mondul. By having strong relationships with the people in the community, it’s very clear we are one big tight-knit family. In many cities when you see the mayor it’s unbelievable. Our wonderful Mayor Mr. John Gilstrap is always present in our community, communicating with the youth, supporting events, and shaking hands.

What are you most looking forward to in 2017?

I look forward to more economic development and revitalizations happening in the Dan River region. Danville is a great city and we can make it even greater by working together. There is no limit to what we can do when great minds come together. It’s always a whisper of joy and great news to hear of the arriving of a new business endeavor or something else being done to our city to make it better, look better, for the better. It’s important for us as business owners and entrepreneurs to support one another to insure sustainability and new growth within our community. We need community buy-in in order for new ventures to rise up and sustain their existence. As a professional film maker my plans for 2017 are to capture the new growth as well as the history of the Dan River region by producing more short films and documentaries showcasing our region. I will  continue to do my share of community service and community involvement.

Do you have a favorite quote, and if so what is it?

“Never boast about your abilities, if they are good people will do the talking for you!”

What do you like to do outside of work and volunteerism?

Reading a good book along the beach and a nice calm flight across the country is my re-energizing pleasure. I love traveling, capturing rare-unique moments, and studying.

What is your idea of happiness?

Spending quality time traveling with my family and friends.

What are your favorite things to do in Danville?

Sightseeing around the river, walking the River Walk trail, and photographing the downtown historic River District.

What are your visions for the future of Danville?

We will be listed as one of the top cities to live in America if not #1.