Ken Fritz

Ken Fritz, Retired Store Owner; Damascus, Virginia:

"I grew up in Damascus, Virginia and graduated Emory and Henry College in 1974. Damascus is a great town to live in. It’s a clean town, not much crime. Most folks don’t even lock their doors at night. The people are so friendly. You don’t have to go through a bunch of red lights to get anywhere; great place for kids to grow up. I have a 13-year-old son. 

People here really support the schools and our churches are really strong.

One of the great things about the mountains is all the greenery in the spring, the beauty. The mountains are filled with ramps (a wild onion). People love picking them to put in their brown beans among other things. Wild Lady Slipper flowers growing all over. In the fall I go pick blueberries, wild huckleberries we call them. 

Appalachian people are down to earth. Just a pot of brown beans will make us happy… And some fried potatoes. The camaraderie here also makes us special. If someone passes away, everyone in town brings food to the family in memory of the person who died. You just wouldn’t see that in the big city. 

The media portrays us to be dumb and ignorant. It’s not true. I have a college degree. My brother has a college degree. My brother was, at one time the regional director of the State of Virginia’s social services, which comprises one third of the state. His wife is a graduate of Radford University. I think the media just wants the attention; it’s whatever they can do to make a story. The stories make them money. "