When the black SUVs rolled onto the tiny street in Petersburg, you knew that this was the arrival of no ordinary volunteer. Former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine took some time out before heading up to D.C. for the inauguration of President Barack Obama to gear up in a flannel shirt, jeans and boots and join William & Mary students as they put up sheetrock in a Habitat for Humanity home.
"You guys do great work at William & Mary, civically and especially this connection to Petersburg with the Phoenix Project and William & Mary's long ties to Richard Bland (College) and this area," Kaine told the students. "It's a really important thing that you do."
The Habitat project was one of three that William & Mary students helped with in Petersburg on the holiday. The day of service capped off a weekend of "Education for Justice" that was organized for students by the Office of Community Engagement and the Center for Student Diversity.
"Our theme for the weekend was this: On Nov. 4, history was made," said Drew Stelljes, director of the OCE. "This weekend we're learning about the history that made that day possible. Petersburg has a storied past. The city played a pivitol role in the civil rights movement. This weekend we honor that sacrifice."
Kaine said that the year he took off from law school to do service work in Honduras was "a real pivotal" year in his life.
He told the W&M students, "And so I hope that the experiences you're having at William & Mary, getting out and helping others, will set some good patterns that will last forever."