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The Student News Site of Ferrum College

Iron Blade

Ferrum Forward Updates Both Ends of Village

Refurbished signs adorn the east and west entrances of town
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  • From left, Ed Saunders, Orrie Saunders, and Bob Pohlad move the sign into place.

  • From left, Mary Turner, Ed Saunders, Bob Pohlad, Don Vineyard, and Orrie Saunders pause to discuss mounting the sign.

  • Foreground, Mary Turner, left; Don Vineyard, right; and Rebecca Saunders, far right; steady the sign while Ed Saunders (behind the sign) fastens hardware to it.

  • Rebecca Saunders checks for level on the new sign.

  • Mary Turner, left, steadies the post sleeve while Ed Saunders drills holes for the signage.

  • Bob Pohlad checks the tightness of the lag screws.

  • Mary Turner, right, takes drill to post while Don Vineyard places the protective cap.

  • Mary Turner prepares to install the Go Panthers attachment to the sign. The attachments can be rotated on a seasonal basis.

  • Ed Saunders ratchets lag screws into the post to secure the sign.

  • From left, Ferrum Forward members Rebecca Saunders, Orrie Saunders, Mary Turner, Eliza Saunders, Ed Saunders, Bob Pohlad, and Don Vineyard pause for a moment after the sign installation.

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It’s Friday, it’s hot, and a small bead of sweat slowly slips down Mary Turner’s brow as she drills holes in a signpost along Route 40 in Ferrum. The whine of the drill drowns out the squawking cicadas but is completely enveloped by the whoosh of passing cars.

The afternoon sunshine beats down on the project that Turner, Bob Pohlad, Ed Saunders, Don Vineyard, Rebecca Saunders, Eliza Saunders, and Orrie Saunders are installing along the roadside.

Turner, owner of Indigo Signs in Rocky Mount, refurbished the signs as part of a community project undertaken by Ferrum Forward, whose mission, according to its website, is to enhance the quality of life and the sense of community throughout the village of Ferrum. Turner donated her labor and design knowhow to the project.

In about 45-minute’s time, the sign posts have been given new post sleeves, holes have been drilled, lag screws set, and the refurbished marker stands sentry at the east end of the Village. About a half hour later, the west side has a bookend.

“(The second sign was) actually much quicker,” Pohlad, vice chair of Ferrum Forward, says. “We seemed to know what we were doing.”

Turner takes a moment to reflect on the project.

“I didn’t have the pleasure of taking it (the sign) all apart, because it came to me in pieces,” she laughs.

For her part, Turner pressure-washed and debugged the pieces, gave them new glue joints and dowels, used filler to plug the rotted holes, and applied numerous coats of paint.

“The post sleeves are PVC, so they won’t get eaten up when you weed whack, and you don’t have to worry about painting them,” she says. “Hopefully, they’ll stay nice for another–(she pauses)–by the time I retire.”

The others laugh, and Pohlad asks the group how long ago the original signs had been erected? A few shoulders shrug in indecision.

“They were old,” Turner says. “I know that my former company didn’t make them.”

Pohald says they tried to trace the history back to the original installation date, but nothing concrete could be nailed down. Turner clarifies that it was sometime in the late nineties.

“These posts were the original posts,” Pohlad says. He points to the bricked garden area in front of the sign. “All of this was landscape timbers, but Jennifer Boyd did all this new bed, and Dwayne Robertson did all the sleeves.”

Boyd and Robertson are long-time Ferrum residents, members of Ferrum Forward, and have worked at the college and Phoebe Needles, respectively.

Besides donning the name of the Village, the sign also says, “Virginia’s Blue Ridge”.

“We talked to Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge–their director, and they were willing to donate a portion of the money to go toward the sign, and it’s also why Virginia’s Blue Ridge–the trademark name–is on the bottom,” Pohlad says. “We have our own page there for Ferrum Forward, also, and the college is a member. I think it gives one more dimension to it.”

The signs have a feature the previous ones did not.

“She’s (Turner) added another sign fixture at the bottom, so we can change it during the year,” Vineyard says. “Virginia’s Blue Ridge will always stay, but there will be another spot below that.”

The current seasonal and inaugural addition reads “Go Panthers”. And as Turner adds the addition to the sign’s hooks, the group voices its approval.

Within hours, the accolades begin to arrive. Facebook. Emails. Texts.

“They are awesome!!,” reads one post.

“Looks wonderful! Wish my mother was alive to see this,” says another.

“Wow! That’s awesome! Looks great!” boasts a third.

With the project now complete, Ferrum Forward will turn its attention to the Friends of Ferrum Park proposal as well as the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival to be held Oct. 28.

Ferrum Forward meets the second Tuesday of the month at Ferrum Faith Assembly Church. The next meeting is set for Oct. 10 at 6 p.m.
















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