When I think of Dick Mountjoy, I remember sitting in the WINA studio for my first ever on-air interview in the summer of 2000. I was nervous, and he was so friendly and casual. I was there to talk about the United Way Day of Caring, to tell his audience that the previous September we had 400 volunteers participate, and we were looking for more! He was so easy to talk to and made the conversation so comfortable…I quickly forgot that I was talking to all of Charlottesville! That summer I faxed him every time a new company signed up a team of volunteers, and he would announce it on the radio and encourage other teams to register. That, my friends, is certainly the power of radio! We saw our volunteer numbers nearly double and then grow again year after year with more than 2,300 volunteers participating in 2007. I don’t think we could have seen that growth without Dick’s help to spread the word out about the Day of Caring.
That initial, nerve-wracking interview turned into many other interviews overthe years—sometimes about the Day of Caring, sometimes about the Santa Fund or just United Way in general. Among my favorites, of course, were those on the Day of Caring – in the freezing cold, pitch black, under a small tent with a flash light, in the middle of an open parking lot or field…broadcasting live at 5:00 a.m., where two hours later hundreds of Day of Caring volunteers would gather. It was always cold out, but Dick was always warm and full of laughs. You’d have to be to start your day that early every day…and be responsible for waking up all of Charlottesville.
Here's Dick at the United Way Day of Caring Kickoff Breakfast where he was our keynote speaker in 2001 (left). Also, Dick with Jim Richardson, Larry Richardson's son (for whom the Day of Caring is named) (right).
During his keynote speech, Dick spoke of a conversation he had with Larry, in which Larry asked Dick, “How does radio work?” Dick replied by telling Larry everything he knew about the technology – amplitude modulation, oscillators, carrier waves, and so on.
“No, Dick, that’s not it,” Larry replied. “Radio works by serving the community.” It’s a lesson Dick obviously took to heart.
I smile thinking about Dick and how much he cared about our community, though I’m sure he’ll be the one smiling down on us this September 17th as more than 2,500 volunteers come out to lend a hand.
Posted by Shaele Wood.
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