2020 Community Strong People of the Year: Ferrell and Cookie Edmunds

The 2020 SHOWCASE MAGAZINE Community Strong People of the Year

Ferrell and Felicia Veal Edmunds, better known as “Cookie” have been fixtures of positivity in our community for many years. They have been married for 26 years, have three sons in the NFL, and have been foster parents with Alliance Human Services for nearly 20 years.

Ferrell played for the Miami Dolphins for five years and the Seattle Seahawks for two years. Cookie is a physical education teacher at GLH Johnson Elementary School and varsity football cheerleading coach at Dan River High School.

Ferrell and Cookie took time from their busy schedules to talk a little about community service with Showcase.

Showcase Magazine: How do you define community involvement?

Ferrell Edmunds: I think community involvement is all about giving back. If you are fortunate enough to do it where you grew up, it is even a greater reward.

Cookie Edmunds: For me, community involvement is bringing about a change that is positive and helpful to those who work and live in the community.

SM: What inspires you to get involved in the community?

FE: I’m inspired to get involved when a community sees various types of new development to spark the energy and keep a constant flow of excitement in the air.

CE: I’m inspired to get involved when events or projects matriculate into an encouragement for other community members to come together, volunteering and supporting those who are trying to bring positive awareness or change.

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

FE: You need to put a value on all three equally. One is not more important than the other one. You need to find balance and somehow make it work.

CE: I think you need to prioritize your timeline daily and carve out time specific to your personal life, work life, and community involvement life so that there is a clear balance.

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

FE: Hard work beats talent. You cannot rely on gifts and talent alone. You must put in the work.

CE: Prepare yourself today for tomorrow. I believe what you do today shows how prepared you will be tomorrow. Sometimes people are lucky in terms of things happening to them or for them. But some people have prepared themselves, so when opportunity presents itself, they are ready.

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

FE: I think your family should be your heroes. Someone you see daily. Someone who you have seen fighting through the struggles. Someone who started from the bottom and made it to the top.

CE: My heroes are my parents, my children, and my husband. They have experienced and combated adversity at some point in their lives. They have displayed in some form or fashion characteristics such as courage, moral integrity, nobility, determination, dedication, and self- sacrifice.

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

FE: Well, since I grew up in Danville, I would say seeing the growth makes me proud to

be a Danville native. It has been special to see people in the community work together to reach common goals.

CE: The uniqueness of the culture. There are historical sites, historical buildings, an abundance of churches, and a plethora of restaurants of all sorts.

SM: What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

FE: Right now, I would like to see a vaccine for corona. So many people have lost their lives. It would be a blessing to see a cure.

CE: I would like to see the continued evolvement of humanity and unity. I honestly believe we are trending in an upward direction for equality and justice for all mankind. Make no mistake, there is plenty of work still yet to do. However, if we keep pushing through the systemics within our country, keep fighting for all lives, keep showing mercy for those who intend to do harm to us, we will survive and rise above it.

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

FE: My favorite quote comes from the older generation, “Can to can’t.” You need to have the mentality of working as early as you can in the morning until you can’t anymore at night. That’s the recipe for success to me.

CE: There are so many colloquialisms, jargons, and slang phrases I use in place of quotes. I’m going to go with. “It is what it is. Why? Because it just is.”

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

FE: I like to sit back and watch sports. I enjoy all kinds of sports. I feel relaxed until I become the invisible coach. I often just sit back and reflect on how I can continue to make a difference in certain areas and in certain people’s lives.

CE: I really enjoy watching TV. Television reminds us and shows us that people are individualistic creatures, and we all think and live differently to some degree. Sometimes it’s good to see those differences, even if it is through the lens of television. By doing so, we can appreciate all people.

SM: What is your idea of happiness?

FE:  Happiness is sharing what you have with someone you care about. Putting a smile on my wife’s face or my children’s face makes me happy. Spending time with my biological family, sisters and brothers, creating memories, hanging out with the guys, getting together for dinner and fellowship makes me happy.

CE: I feel extremely happy when I’m sharing with others. We have been so blessed over the years, and I mean even before our boys became part of the National Football League. It makes me very happy to surprise people with complementary lunch or dinners or complementary quick trips or giving surprise personal treats for no reason. I really enjoy giving to those who least expect it.

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

FE: Supporting sports in the hometown schools. I enjoy watching my niece and nephews participating in youth sports and reminiscing back to when my boys were that age.

CE: I enjoy attending the Danville Stadium Movie theater. I’m pretty sure I should have some stock ownership in the theater as often as I go. I enjoy taking Ferrell’s nephews, the young people who stay with us, my goddaughter, my boys when they come home, my mom, my parents, my church family, and Ferrell when I can get him to go. I just like going to the movies.

It goes back to the Television theory.

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

FE and CE: Our vision of Danville is to see the economic growth within our community. To see the community be lifted up, to be strong, and to endure whatever comes this way knowing we will overcome it.God is good.