Bruce Hedrick: 2018 Community Strong Person of the Year

Bruce Hedrick has held many jobs throughout his life ranging from starting as a grocery bagger on his 16th birthday, to traveling around the country selling tickets for sports teams. His first assignment with Sport Productions was in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Bruce was hooked.

He returned to the area. After various jobs, Bruce decided to go into business for himself with HalifaxCentral. He understood there was (and still is) a need for an independent and opinionated views on what’s happening in the Southside region. Bruce widened the scope of HalifaxCentral, rebranding it SouthsideCentral after buying a house in Danville. He quickly gained a large following. Bruce leveraged that into a move to the television. Bruce became the main on-air personality of the WDMV local television station. After leaving for “creative differences”, he moved his focus back to SouthsideCentral turning it into his own viable small business and continues to grow his following. Working with (and occasionally against) local government, Bruce developed the reputation of “the guy who knows what’s going on and isn’t afraid to upset people.”

We sat down with Bruce to find out why he is a strong advocate for a healthy community.

SC: Why is community involvement so important to you?

BH: Without community involvement, you have resigned yourself into being a follower. Having other people make the decisions for the area never has set well with me. I firmly believe in strong, powerful community engagement to get things accomplished.

SC: What inspires you to volunteer?

BH: Giving back to the community is important to me in two ways. First, it’s what’s expected and is the right thing to do. Second, helping others gives me the motivation to work even harder in making a difference in this region.

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

BH: To be quite honest, I do that poorly (and I’m sort of proud of that). I’ll sleep when I’m dead if that’s what it takes to get what’s needed done.

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

BH: Charles Roark (general manager of Star News) told me, “If people dislike you, say things about you, or even hate you… that means that they’re paying attention to you. Push the haters into the margins and feed off of their negative energy.” I don’t care who likes me or my opinions. My opinions are based on facts, and I’m perfectly willing to change those opinions. I’ll listen to anybody… at least once.

SC: Who are your real-life heroes and why?

BH: I’ve always looked up to the people that persevere under the spotlight of criticism. I’ve learned from well-respected political figures on how to shove the naysayers aside. Locally, I look at people like Bill Stanley and Danny Marshall and have learned that you can get more accomplished from the outside than you can from the inside at times.

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

BH: This is my home. From growing up on Melville Avenue to owning my own house now, this is where I was meant to be. I traveled the rest of the country and decided to come back here. I’ll defend this city and region every time, but I’ll also criticize and roast who or whatever needs to be criticized or roasted if it’s needed.

SC: What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

BH: Another trip around the sun means there’s going to be new ideas, new agendas, and new motivation for me and for SouthsideCentral. Every morning is a new day for me and the same goes for 2019.

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

BH: “Never let them get you down.”

SC: How do you recharge. What do you like to do outside of work and volunteerism?

BH: I love to hunt, fish, and shoot. I’m also partial to good food (as my SouthsideCentral followers well know).

SC: What is your idea of happiness?

BH: The best feeling of happiness comes from knowing that you’ve helped somebody in some way. It could be changing a tire for somebody, or it could be getting the non-resident city library fee repealed. Most everything that I do is designed to help people in some way. That’s the best feeling of all.

SC: What are your favorite things to do in Danville?

BH: You’ll find me on the Riverwalk trail a lot. You’ll also find me at the best local restaurants. I’m well into a lifestyle change, having lost over 70 pounds and increasing my strength, so I just love to be outside… even if doing absolutely nothing.

SC: What are your visions for the future of Danville?

BH: This city is resilient. We’ve got great leadership that listens to the people who have great ideas and commentary. We’ve already turned around some negative aspects of the city, and we’ll continue making progress. And notice that I said “we.” That’s a job for every city resident.