He grew up on his grandfather’s farm off Scott’s Mill Road learning the lessons of another era — lugging spring water up to the house, daily farm chores, and the thrifty life of a family of six siblings. His mother and father lived on his grandfather’s 45-acre farm amidst six gardens, pigs and whatever else the family needed to make a living from the land.
In the process Melvin White learned the value of work, a love of sports, a thirst for knowledge and perhaps most importantly, empathy for struggling children. The latter lesson came later but the seeds were planted early.
“My parents were great,” he said. “Me and my dad were the best of friends,” he said. And, it is evident White reveres his grandfather. But it wasn’t until his daughter Melody was born that the linebacker-sized deputy fully appreciated the advantages his family life gave him, the same advantages he was determined to give to his daughter, and the advantages so many children in Culpeper and elsewhere lacked.
“There are no bad children,” he said, “only bad circumstances.”
“My dad was my biggest inspiration,” White explained. “He used to tell all of his kids failure wasn’t an option.” It is the same attitude White tries to instill in others.
White played baseball for Culpeper High School. In 1985 he obtained a certificate in the building trades and went off to work in the construction industry: first with well-known builder Bruce Tibbetts, then with his father’s company Melvin D. White & Sons, and finally with a building supply company. He had friends who worked in the Fairfax Sheriff’s Office who told him about working for a sheriff’s office. In 2008 he decided to give it a try and worked in the Fairfax Sheriff’s Office until last year when Culpeper Sheriff Scott Jenkins talked to him.
“I’ve known Scott Jenkins forever,” White said. “He knew I loved working with kids,” said White, who coaches little league softball. So, when Jenkins asked White to come to the Culpeper Sheriff’s Office in 2015, “I didn’t even need to think about it,” White said. Now he is the School Resource Officer for Emerald Hill on a personal mission to help children no matter their circumstances.
“We’re really lucky to have someone like Melvin working with our kids in the schools,” Jenkins said.
“They love him at the school,” one fellow officer said about Deputy White. And the big burly deputy exudes the same sentiment according to all who see him in action at Emerald Hill.
“Everything I do, I do for my family,” he said regarding his life story. And he credits anything good in his life to his faith in Christ, being as he puts it, “25 years saved.”
“I’ve known Melvin and his family most of my life and you won’t find more genuine and caring wonderful people. I’m proud to consider Melvin part of my extended family and we are so fortunate to have him in our schools,” Jenkins said.
Melvin D. White, Jr.
Married: 24 years, one daughter
School Resource Officer: Emerald Hill
Hobbies: basketball, travel softball, fishing, target shooting, reading.