Southard receives Charles Brown Award
SALEM – Twenty-two-year-old Eric Southard watched his mother receive Roanoke College’s Charles Brown Award for Community Service on Oct. 2, and pronounced it “pretty cool.” “She’s a pretty remarkable lady,” said the James Madison University senior. “She’s done a lot with her life.”
Sally Southard was recognized for her contribution to Salem’s quality of life. She was nominated for the award by her daughter, Rachel, who is an occupational therapist in Richmond and who was due to arrive the next day to complete the family celebration.
Besides Eric, other family members on hand for the announcement were Southard’s husband, Bob, and his sister and brother-in-law, Sandy and Bob Robinson of Milford, Conn.
They had planned to come later this week, but came early for the honor. “We would do anything for Sally,” said Sandy Robinson. “We’re so happy to be here.”
“Salem provides a wonderful place to live even if you’re not Salem born and Salem bred,” said Southard in her acceptance remarks. She thanked her husband and children for their support, and for his help “in being the cook in our family and making home-cooked meals while I was on School Board meetings.” Southard has been chairman of the Salem School Board since 1999.
She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 10, and has spent her own career helping children. She is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Carilion Clinic’s Children’s Hospital Pulmonology and Allergy Clinic, and has worked for Carilion Clinic for 32 years.
She recalled help she got as a 17-year-old college student at Roanoke College from (pharmacist) “Mr. Powell, who helped me get my insulin when it had not arrived from home,” and other people who arranged for a part-time job in the collections department of a local bank that helped her pay for school.
“Who would want to live anywhere else?” Southard asked.
In September, Southard took part in an artificial pancreas trial at the University of Virginia that uses a smartphone to track the amount of insulin people with Type 1 diabetes need.
Southard is a member of the board of the Roanoke area Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The announcement was in Roanoke College’s Wortmann Ballroom in the Colket Center. College President Mike Maxey told the 60 people gathered for breakfast why Southard, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at RC, was selected for the award named after the college’s first dean who was also a former Salem mayor.
“She has made significant contributions to pediatric health care, and accomplished all kinds of incredible things for the good of the city,” Maxey said.
Southard, who grew up in Maryland, and her future husband who is from Connecticut met while attending Roanoke College, and they decided to stay because of Salem’s quality of life, she said.
Like the 15 recipients of the Charles Brown Award before her, Southard received a framed print of 19th century artist Edward Beyer’s view of Salem.