City worker once played in Central Ball League

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 13, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Richard D. Brown is a man with a ready smile, a helping hand and a greeting for anyone with a moment to spare.

He’s seen all over the city, working most of the time on the streets. His bright red letters on his shirt identify him as an employee of the city. But, once Friday rolls around, he’s off to his recliner.

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Brown, a self-proclaimed sports nut, enjoys nothing better than kicking back and watching anything with a ball involved on the weekends.

That could be because he once was a player with the former Central Baseball League.

&uot;I started out with the Ivor Tigers, a team out of Windsor,&uot; said Brown. &uot;I played with them for quite a few years and then played for the Wilroy Tornadoes. The league was comprised of teams from the area including the Holland Aces, the Carrsville Woodpeckers, Lakefield Braves, the Dendron Redsocks, and many others. A lot of people don’t know about the league today, but it was a big thing back then.&uot;

Brown is proud of the fact that he was part of the league that played other teams from the Richmond area, Washington, D.C., and those from northeastern North Carolina.

&uot;It was just so much fun… it was fun,&uot; said Brown. &uot;You know… every man thinks of turning pro, and I did play ball until I was 42, but I eased myself out of it in the past few years. Now, I just enjoy watching it and reading about it in publications.&uot;

While not watching or reading about sports, Brown works with the traffic division of Suffolk’s Public Works Department and when Friday rolls around he’s ready for a much needed break.

&uot;Throughout the week I’m working anywhere they need me on many of the city’s projects,&uot; said Brown. &uot;I enjoy being out among the people and helping improve the city’s streets.&uot;

While sports are a big favorite in his life, Brown also has other interests including his wife, Margie and four children, Richard Jr., Brian, Marcus, and Belissa, and six grandchildren that don’t wait for grandpa to call.

&uot;I pick them up almost every afternoon after work,&uot; said Brown. &uot;If I don’t call them or pick them up, they call me so I may as well go on and pick them up. They are a lot of fun and they keep me active and happy.&uot;

Brown first came to Suffolk at the age of 21 in 1974. He was attending Norfolk State University.

He found work in this city and changed jobs often, moving from carpentry at Sidney Harrell Funeral Home and working for the peanut industry.

&uot;I tried everything else before I came to work for the City of Suffolk, but once with them, I decided this was the best deal,&uot; said Brown. &uot;I get to meet so many people and I enjoy being outdoors with no two days alike. I might be doing signs one day… and, then I might be doing streets one day… or. I could be in the shop working on other stuff. I never have a moment to get bored. Also, the benefits are great. Adding benefits to our salary… we get more than the shipyard employees.&uot;

Being out among the people is something Brown truly enjoys, and his face is a familiar one to most city employees.

&uot;I meet some of the city officials like mayors, police officers and I enjoy talking with them,&uot; said Brown. &uot;Peanut Fest is coming up and we get to meet people from all over while setting up for that event. I know people from Route 58 on down to North Carolina and all the way to Pennsylvania.&uot;

Right now, Brown is looking forward to beginning the fall season by working at the Peanut Fest site at the Executive Airport.

&uot;I can tell what my next job will be by the seasons of the year,&uot; he explained. &uot;Just like right now, we will begin with the festival and once that’s over, we’ll begin with Christmas preparations.&uot;

Brown said he never expects to run out of work before he reaches his 30th year of employment with the city. That’s in two short years; however, don’t look for him to retire. He plans to work for some time and says he wants to be a part of the population explosion in the city.

&uot;I see Suffolk growing with most of the growth in the northern end of the city right now,&uot; he added. &uot;But, I also see the future growth that is inevitable for the western portion of the city. Pretty soon, too, I’m looking for the southern end of the city to begin to grow. The southern end has to happen because the farmers know they can’t make a future anymore… it’s changing… it’s definitely changing.&uot;

Name? Richmond D. Brown

Age? 50

Hometown? Martinsville, Va.

Family? Married to Margie. We have four children and seven grands.

Education? Graduated from Martinsville High School and attended Norfolk State College.

Career/occupation? Traffic division of the city’s public works department.

Volunteer activities? City functions only.

Favorite thing about Suffolk? It’s peaceful, mostly country flavor, although it is beginning to grow.

Why did you pursue your chosen career? I needed a job after getting married and this job became available.

Favorite thing about your job? There are many different things I like about my job!

Least favorite thing about your job? Nothing is unfavorable in the jobs that come my way.

What accomplishments are you proudest of? Playing in the Central Baseball League for 20 years.

Who or what motivates and inspires you? I am a self-motivator, but my grandchildren really keep me going.

Favorite way to spend free time? Reading or watching sports.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with others? What ever you do in life, do the best you can.

What ingredients are in the recipe for a good life? Keep everything in the right perspective, know your limitations and worry less.

We all have our 15 minutes of fame in this life. How would you spend you time in the spotlight? Playing ball.