Building community in Driver

Published 9:17 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If there’s one thing that the village of Driver does well — and we believe there are, in fact, quite a few — it’s creating a sense of community. Long before the tornado that put the village on the map by almost erasing it from the map, folks in the Driver area were well known for getting together to put on festivals and other community events. Since the tornado in 2008, that reputation is even more appropriate.

Whether to raise money for people affected by other tornados or to drum up support for the Suffolk Humane Society — or even just so that neighbors can get together, have some fun and get to know one another a little better — the Driver community is widely known around this part of Hampton Roads for its knack for pulling off a party. And each of the events the village stages helps solidify the relationships that are part and parcel of creating a cohesive community in this time of disconnected neighbors.

Driver Days is the perfect example of creating community the right way. The event, which was held over the weekend and attracted thousands of people from Suffolk and beyond, gives folks in Driver a chance to work together on a project that ultimately helps them show off their community to others from the area.

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It’s a win-win situation for Driver. By sharing the work on a special project, the people who live there get to know each other much better, which means they get to connect with each other on the kind of personal level that encourages long-term friendships and actions whose motives do not come from self interest.

When visitors to these events see the positive results of those types of interactions, some will be so attracted by the result that they seek to move there. Indeed, Driver has grown at least in part because people see it as a friendly place to live. At the very least, such events help convince folks that Driver is a great place to visit.

As Suffolk struggles to provide services despite reduced taxes resulting from the ailing economy, it’s appropriate to note just how much either outcome can benefit the city. Driver Days, then, can be seen as a vital outreach to the surrounding community, as well as a happy hometown shindig. Once again, this year, the event succeeded on both levels.