Dinwiddie County announces its 2021 Hometown Heroes

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This year’s Hometown heroes are Carolyn Smith (left) and John Bonner (right).

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WIRC) — The Dinwiddie County Board of Supervisors announced its Hometown Heroes for 2021.

This year’s honorees are Carolyn Smith and John Bonner.

“I applaud this year’s honorees and appreciate what they have done for the Dinwiddie community,” said Brenda Ebron-Bonner, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “Mr. Bonner has been a strong
advocate for Blank farmers and Mrs. Smith was the first African-American female Deputy in Dinwiddie County’s history. These two individuals have paved the way for future generations and we are all thankful for their contributions.”

The County said Hometown Hero’s was starting in 2015 as a way to recognize Black History Month. In order to qualify, community selected nominees must be natives of or currently live in Dinwiddie.

Carolyn Smith

The announcement said Smith, a native to the county, was nominated for her “contributions to the community through law enforcement.” Her career in law enforcement began when she became a dispatcher for the county in 1982.

Three years into the job, the county said Sheriff Bennie Health promoted her to Deputy Sheriff, believing she could make a difference on the road. This made Smith the first female deputy and the first African-American female deputy in Dinwiddie County’s History.

During her time as a road Deputy, the announcement said she became interested in civil process division and moved into it. After extensive coursework and training, the county said in 2000, Smith became a Master Deputy in 2000, and then Sargent of the Civil Process Division in 2008.

“Carolyn’s passion to serve, her tireless work and compassion for the community never wavered,” Said Sheriff D.T. “Duck” Adams who worked with Smith as a Lieutenant. “She helped pave the way for others to achieve opportunities in law enforcement and provide our great County with top law enforcement service. We salute her and have eternal gratitude for her service to the citizens of Dinwiddie County.”

John Bonner

Bonner, a lifelong resident of Dinwiddie, was nominated for his contributions to the community through agriculture. He was raised on a farm and his family grew tobacco, peanuts and soybeans.

The county said Bonner has worked a variety of roles, including serving in the Army and Army Reserves for 26 years, working as a federal employee for another 26 years, — working security at Fort Pickett, and as an Ammunition Technician at Fort Lee. However, the county said farming was always in the background.

“As hard as I tried to get away from farming, it must have been in my blood, because I always came back home to farm,” Bonner said. “For as long as I can remember, my family has raised hogs.”

The announcement said Bonner has been a lifelong advocate of farming and is especially passionate about the plight of Black farmers. His father and brother worked closely with the Founder and President of the National Black Farmers Association, a group that fights for justice and equity for Black farmers.

Bonner is committed to inspiring young people to pursue a career in agriculture by presenting workshops on farming. He also is hoping to modernize his family’s farm by incorporating greenhouse technology.

You can learn more about the award and honorees here.

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