FOLAR honors the legacy of Jerry Skalsky
By ADRIENNE WALLACE
Aug 25, 2017, 08:01
Supervisors Chairman William Robertson Jr. Supervisor Hugh Mumford and Wayne Walton stand next to the bench dedicated in honor of the late Jerry Skalsky.
That’s the question that has lingered since the long-time Prince George County supervisors passed away in May.
His wife Brenda Skalsky said that’s what people are asking - they are asking when a loved one needs a ride to a doctor’s appointment. They ask when they know someone is in need and Jerry Skalsky was always willing to help. And they ask when there is a river clean up or park gathering to promote environmental stewardship.
While he may be gone, Jerry Skalsky won’t be forgotten, and the Friends of the Appomattox River ensured just that when the group held a dedication in his honor.
A bench engraved with Skalsky’s name was placed at the front of the park.
FOLAR immediate past chair and founding member Wayne Walton said the site was chosen because everyone who walks into the Appomattox Riverside Regional Park will pass by it, see his name and have a chance to think about the man who gave so much to his community.
On Saturday, the ceremony took place at the park with a large crowd.
The commemoration was held, “In celebration and Deep appreciation of Jerry’s life-long dedication to Selfless Service and Community Leadership and to the mission of FOLAR,” FOLAR Chair Kenneth Newman noted. “His legacy of caring, giving, and volunteering serves as an inspiration to all.”
Skalsky was supportive of the park and the FOLAR mission form the start, Walton explained. The park behind Riverside Regional Jail came about with a walk through that Skalsky was part of in 2003 started. He, Walton and others walked through the overgrown wood and saw a vision that has since came to fruition with the work and donations of many volunteers and organizations.
“It’s a million dollar park that hardly cost Prince George County a dime,” Walton, a former Hopewell City Councilman, said. “And Jerry was there form the beginning, from walking through the wood at the start and seeing the vision through knowing it would be a great place for families and for kids – he was always thinking about the kids and doing things for the kids.”
In 2005, the park opened, but became more of a gem with a public grand opening in 2009. “Jerry and Henry Parker (a long-time supervisor who passed away in February last year) was there. Jerry was just one of those guys who was always there to thank others and award them for their volunteer service while he was always giving back. He was a charter member of FOLAR and was there for every meeting.”
His spirit of giving shined through as a large crowd gathered to show their support for Skalsky at the commemoration ceremony despite the hot and humid Saturday.
“Jerry was pivotal in using acreage that was set aside for a park years ago and which has now become a natural paradise for the Tri-Cities area,” commented William Gandel, former supervisor and current District 2 candidate who served along side Skalsky.
“He will always be remembered for all that he did, but also for being a different politician – one who never got mad, never raised his voice and took the time to listen to both sides,” Walton recalled. “He always kept his cool – you just don’t see many politicians who do that.”
In that same spirit, Walton said that Skalsky “was always there to award and thank people who volunteered, and he did a lot of volunteer work for the entire community.”
His work with the park was just part of that. “It’s a million dollar park that hardly cost Prince George County a dime,” Walton commended.
He suggested that anyone who would like to show tribute to Skalsky and his environmental efforts, they could participate in park clean ups, with organizations that serve their community and support efforts that help children throughput the Tri-Cities.
Since FOLAR started, Walton said that other clan up efforts have picked up like the hard work of Keep Hopewell Beautiful, a volunteer group that cleans up schools and other areas throughput the city.
“It’s great to see more people come together to help keep the city, park sand the river clean,” Walton said.
While Skalsky is no longer here, his memory lives on and not just through his name engraved on a bench at the Appomattox Riverside Regional Park, but in the spirt of many who knew him.
“His spirit of volunteerism and giving back has truly had an influence on many, myself included,” Walton said. “We had a really good turn out Saturday despite the heat, and that just goes to show how much Jerry meant to so many people. He will truly be missed.”