Giles County, VA- With the New Year, many students are considering their options after high school and those already in college or the ACCE program are preparing for the second semester at New River Community College. Students that are already utilizing the Access to Community College program in Giles County know that the program is helping both students and families along the way. Every month we bring you a story of someone involved in the ACCE Program or the very popular Muddy ACCE Race event. The 2017 MAR is slated for September 16, 2017 along the banks of the New River Water Trail in Giles County. This month we talk with a volunteer of the event, Ed Bradley.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself. A: My name is Ed Bradley and I am a Sr. Operations Specialist at Celanese. My wife, Susan and I, have three young girls. We both have been very active with volunteering; it is a culture that our company is encouraging. Over the past five years, we have been able to help over 50 volunteer projects in our local community. I feel very blessed in this life and love it when an opportunity comes my way that allows me to use my skills or influence to help improve someone else’s way of life. I believe you can never give more than you receive. Every project I get involved in gives me so much satisfaction, from seeing smiling faces, sometimes tears of happiness and just a general appreciation from the ones we get to help.
Q: How did you participate in the ACCE Program? A: The first thing I did was nominate the Muddy ACCE Race as a project for our company sponsored Global Impact Month and I volunteered to lead the project. It was easy to convince others to want to help construct the Mud Course after I explained that all the proceeds of the event would go to support a free college education for Giles County students. We had anywhere from ten to fifteen volunteers show up each day (for a week) at the park to help the county crew build some of the obstacles for the race.
After seeing how fun it looked after construction, of course I had to run it. By no means am I a runner, but I was up for the challenge. My wife runs a good bit and loved the idea of it too. So, we each decided to form a team and have a little family competition. Then I started challenging people I worked with to get teams signed up. Meanwhile, our kids got interested and started asking their friends. So, I just started signing up everyone that I could find, by the time of the race we had signed up over 30 people.
Q: Why did you get involved with the Muddy ACCE Race? A: Celanese sponsors what we call Global Impact Month each year in September. We started talking to local officials and schools around July to try and determine the projects we want to help with. I learned about the ACCE program and the mud run this year while speaking with Chris McKlarney and Jon Mills, I was immediately sold on the idea and wanted to help in every way I could. I can’t think of a better thing to get involved in. Giving a college education to our kids changes their life forever. The student’s life, their family’s life and the essence of the program is for the students to give back too. This forever molds their minds and opens their hearts to giving and not just taking from this world. It gives families that can’t afford the opportunity to send their children to college a new outlook on life too. I can only think of positive things that this program creates and I feel very fortunate to get to be a part of it. I’m very proud of Giles County for stepping up to the plate to financially get this program started and will do all I can to get the support of local businesses and corporations to do their part as well. It will only make our community better, smarter, and stronger and help to create a giving spirit.
Q: What is the one thing you’ll take away from the ACCE program or MAR event? A: This program is all about changing lives for the better. It will improve the quality of life of the students that take advantage of it by removing student debt, letting them focus on their studies and not their finances, opening their eyes to giving back themselves by helping others in the community. It gives hope, encourages and inspires people to want to do good for others.