A major concern of the people living along the route to the proposed landfill is the safety and potential for deadly crashes on the single lane section of Route 60 in Powhatan. This is already a dangerous stretch of road and has been stated so in corridor studies done by VDOT. As estimated by the landfill developers there will be an estimated 425 semi-trucks from County Waste alone, traveling on this single lane highway between the hours of 6pm until midnight. Additional trucks will be coming from other contractors at unpredictable times. Among the most concerned and outspoken citizens regarding this issue are Cecil and Alice Youngblood.
Cecil and Alice Youngblood
The Youngbloods moved to Powhatan County (just off route 60) in 1972. Amongst many setbacks they built their existing 2 story house over the years with their own sweat and determination. In order to build their new home in Powhatan, Cecil and Alice sold their house in Richmond and had 90 days to pack up to allow the new owners to move in. The Youngbloods had previously purchased their land and were granted a mortgage by the Powhatan Bank to build their new home. Their first setback came when the private locally owned Powhatan Bank was purchased by a competitor. The manager of the new bank informed Cecil that corporate headquarters would not honor his mortgage because his house was not going to be located within a subdivision. Realizing they would have no place to live in 90 days, Cecil kicked into gear and hired a company to add a second story of cinder blocks to what he originally planned to be a garage/workshop on their land. Alice and Cecil began to build their house on their own. Each room was completed as time and money became available. Cecil had a full- time job, so much of the work was done on weekends or nights after working a full day. He sometimes worked through the night with no sleep at all. It is a heartwarming story of their journey and the determination shown as these two resourceful people worked to build the family home they live in today. Over the years, this house was home to not only Cecil, Alice and their youngest daughter, Sara, but to a plethora of other family members, including Alice’s mother, grandchildren, and nephews. Cecil and Alice also welcomed a Ukrainian exchange student into their home and on three separate occasions they were hosts to teachers from Japan. They overflowed with kindness and generosity toward others despite their modest means.
In the early 90’s, Cecil was involved in a serious accident when he was rear ended by a tractor trailer while making a left-hand turn onto his road. He was air lifted to MCV and fortunately made a complete recovery. Recalling this accident is very emotional for Cecil. He has been fighting this landfill for the many people who will be traveling on route 60 as hundreds of these semis haul trash to and from the dump every night. He reminds us all that this road will be driven frequently by new teenage drivers, mail carriers, and school buses full of children, and notes that the weight of these trucks requires an extended stopping distance. They will not be able to stop on a dime.
If you’ve spent any years in Powhatan County you have most likely benefited from the community service of both Cecil or Alice. Alice was instrumental in the planning and building of the Powhatan library. She was on the board for 22 years before retiring. Her name is prominently displayed on a plaque when you first enter the library.
The Youngbloods are a unique couple not only for their obvious devotion to each other but also because of their self-reliance. Their home is heated only by wood from trees that are cut and split by Cecil. Alice has slowed down recently and can no longer help with the firewood due to arthritis that affects her balance. However, there is always homemade bread, soup from scratch and other healthy foods made by Alice’s hands. For many years they lived predominantly from what they grew and raised on their own land. Upon entering their warm and welcoming kitchen, you first notice an entire wall of vegetables that Alice has canned from their large garden. Cecil and Alice are an integral part of the the leadership team of CCLA, offering insight and wisdom that others don’t possess. They speak against the landfill at board meetings, they attend fund raisers to stop the landfill, they could be found at the Festival of the Grape gathering signatures on the petition against the landfill, you can see them on the side of the road hanging signs, they interact with elected officials on behalf of the people of Powhatan. Their commitment to community is admirable. One last thing…Cecil is in his 70’s and Alice her 80’s! We have a lot to learn from them. Let’s follow their example and stand up to keep Route 60 safe for all those who travel this road as part of their daily life
Article written by Laurie Halligan. If you want to share your story or know a story that people may want to hear, please contact Laurie at email@example.com. She will be willing to come to you, meet you, whatever works for you.