As I continue to work on this project, I am saddened by the thought that if this landfill were to come to fruition it will destroy so many lives. Today, I am even more struck that someone who gave so many years to his country, so we could all live freely in a democratic nation, could have his family devastated by three men who are supposed to be representing ALL of its citizens’ welfare. Written By Laurie Halligan
Ron and Gerry Tavernier
It was a beautiful day to spend walking the property of Ron and Gerry’s home in Cumberland county. Their land is a mini farm with an orchard of fruit trees, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, grapevines and a huge vegetable garden. A short walk to the back of the 21 acres is a beautiful stream running the length of the property. Scattered among the natural beauty of this land are the reminders that a family lives here…a child’s swing, a tree stand, and of course solar panels. These panels were brought in by Ron just weeks before the shocking news that a landfill was being proposed just 3000 ft from his driveway.
The Taverniers are both from Massachusetts. They traveled many miles before they found their family home in Cumberland county. Ron met Gerry while on leave from the Navy. Six months later they were driving down to Florida to marry. Their first night as a married couple, Ron carried Gerry over the threshold of their camping tent! After a stay at the base in Florida, Ron was deployed to Scotland and Gerry followed shortly thereafter. With their first child on the way they searched for off base housing. The search ended with Ron and Gerry living temporarily in a tiny camper the size of their current dining room. When, finally, a house to rent became available, they lived frugally on rations for coal and food. They remember this as some of the best times of their life!
Ron was sent back to the United States to live in Maine, then Newport News, Charleston, South Carolina and then back to Chesapeake. In between all these moves with Gerry and their now 3 children, Ron continued to travel with the Navy. All total, He has traveled to 28 countries. Is there any doubt how happy they were to finally settle down in rural Cumberland where Ron’s dream of hunting on his own land came true?
In September,2004 they moved to their new, permanent home. Over the years this house has been called home to 3 children, multiple grandchildren and Gerry’s brother. No one has been turned away when they were in need. Jason, their son, was excited last year to buy a piece of his parent’s land to start the process of building his own home for himself and his daughter. The markers are still visible where the house would be constructed, but all progress came to a standstill with the announcement of the landfill. Two homeowner’s dreams have been dashed by the possibility of this landfill.
Ron and Gerry have both had health issues. Ron was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. Gerry has a rare condition where she loses balance when exposed to flashing lights. Although Ron was cured, Gerry continues to battle this debilitating condition which has baffled many doctors, none of which have been able to offer any relief from her symptoms. The Taverniers both work tirelessly to stop the landfill and dedicate many hours each week to the cause. Ron continues to work full time at Longwood University. Gerry continues to run the house which includes all the time and energy that goes into providing for a family with the added component of canning and drying food from their gardens. She also has many creative talents such as sewing, painting, crocheting, etc.
If you run into Ron (You’ll recognize him. He is the image of Archie Bunker) or Gerry-thank them for two things: their tireless commitment to allow the community around Pine Grove to survive without destruction from a landfill and the sacrifices they both made while Ron served our country.
If you will be adversely affected by the proposed County Waste / Greenridge landfill, or you would like to refer someone you know, I would like to share your story. Each of you has a unique story of your life and it deserves to be told. Please contact me by email at Lahallig@Gmail.com.