Name: William Blaine Webb, Bill to those who have gotten to know me recently and Billy to those who knew me when I was growing up in Hillsville.
Family Members: My wife, Carolyn Easter, who grew up in Woodlawn. We were married in 1972 right out of college and took off on an adventure to “see the world” or at least other parts of the U.S.; two daughters, Heather Leigh Nolan, who lives in Sydney, Australia and is married to Jed Nolan, and Lara Elizabeth Reynolds, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is married to Chris Reynolds and is raising our 19-month old grandson, Levi. (Want to see pictures? – just ask Carolyn.) And I can not fail to mention my 90-year-old, father-in-law, James G. Easter, who now lives with us, and who offers wisdom and knowledge that I can no longer seek from my own father.
Education: After graduating from Hillsville High School in 1968, I attended VA Tech and received a degree in civil engineering in 1972.
Occupation and why you selected it: In the summer of 1972, I took a job with the Veterans Administration (V.A.) in their Office of Construction. My focus in civil engineering had been project management, and the job with the V.A. provided great opportunities to pursue that interest, as well as to be assigned around the U.S. to see areas of this great country I had not experienced. I worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 34 years during which time I had assignments in Columbia, MO; Murfreesboro, TN; Brooklyn, NY; Indianapolis, IN; and Castle Point, NY. The last 24 years of my career were spent working in Washington, D.C. and commuting each day from Manassas, VA. We retired and moved back to Carroll County at the beginning of 2006.
What clubs, groups and church do you belong? I belong to the Hillsville Lions Club, the Carroll County Historical Society, work as a volunteer with the American Red Cross to promote and coordinate blood drives in the Hillsville area, and I am a member of First United Methodist Church in Hillsville.
What is the best part of your job? Each of my retirement “jobs” has a special appeal. With the Red Cross I am a sincere believer that the blood that is donated saves lives. And I believe that for each unit I donate personally or am able to assist someone else to donate, we have done the best we can for our fellow man. With the Lions Club, I got hooked when helping with vision screening with young children in our schools. Their smiles and joy are contagious and I hope their learning ability is enhanced for those we find in need of vision correction. With the Historical Society, I just enjoy learning about the history of Carroll County. That seemed so unimportant back when I was growing up here in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Favorite food: If you look at me, you can tell there aren’t many foods that I don’t like. But my favorite meal that Carolyn prepares is grilled pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, fresh peas, and corn bread. (I love good country-made corn bread.) Of course, any favorite meal must be topped off with made-from-scratch German Chocolate cake.
Favorite writer and/or book: I don’t do a lot of reading right now, but if I do, it is probably something on history. I just finished reading the recently released book by Ray Stahl and Ned Irwin on George L. Carter and the empire he built, and I greatly enjoyed Ron Hall’s book on the “Courthouse Tragedy.”
Favorite music and/or performer: I have very varied musical tastes and what I listen to at any given time is probably a mood indicator. About the only music I don’t like or understand is heavy metal and rap.
Share your favorite memory in your life to date: I have so many I can’t choose just one: my marriage to Carolyn, the birth of our daughters, walking both daughters down the aisle for their weddings (well for Heather it was on a beach in Byron Bay, Australia), and most recently, the birth of our grandson, Levi.
What is the best advice you were ever given and who gave it? My mother gave me two pieces of advice that seem in conflict but actually make sense when looked at in proper time. She first told me as a young man, that if I was bored and felt I didn’t have anything to do, that I wasn’t looking hard enough because there was always something that needed to be done. However, in later years not too long before her death, she told me to slow down, take it easy, and enjoy life.
What else would you like the people of Carroll County to know about you? I was never a member of the armed forces, but my memories of my father as a WWII veteran and his fellowship with his other veterans at the Hillsville VFW, coupled with my helping to design and build medical and other facilities for veterans in my work for the V.A. had a strong influence on me. Those experiences provided me with an extremely strong respect and admiration for those men and women who have left their homes to serve so far away, leaving their families and loved ones for so many months and years.