Ron Copeland

Ron should be nominated because of his determination to help those in need. He first got the idea of building a community center in the late 1990s, a time when he owned The Little Grill, a restaurant on North Main Street. For years, ron offered a weekly Free Food for All Soup Kitchen at the restaurant. It was great, but he wanted to do more. The homeless population in Harrisonburg was growing, and he wanted to expand his efforts to better accommodate the poor folks in that neck of town. There was the vacant structure built in the 1930s located across the street from his restaurant. The blue building was for sale for $65,000 and had been empty since the Salvation Army sold it at auction. By 1999, he and other key volunteers formed a nonprofit organization under the name Our Community Place. They set their sights on purchasing the little blue building for the community center. In 2002, the group was able to pay cash for the building and have money left over. They built a new roof and kitchen, installed new electric wiring and plumbing – everything. About four months ago, he has been able to open Our Community Place and is providing food and guidance for the homeless.