“You’re the best!”
It’s a greeting you’re familiar with if you’ve encountered Alan Rasmussen.
Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services prevention specialist, Alan is a positive force of change in our community.
That’s why we’ve chosen Alan as our 2017 Culpeper Times Citizen of the Year.
Culpeper is a great place to live, but it’s not without its dark side. Alan is the one who deals with those dark issues and makes them a positive.
He changes lives, he makes a difference, and he does it by being unwaveringly positive.
Ed Long first met Alan after Ed’s son died of suicide in 2015.
Alan reached out to the Long family and sat down with Ed and Gloria to talk through their pain. Since then, he’s helped them form the Living the Dream Foundation, helping prevent other suicides in the county.
“Suicide is one of the things in his repertoire, he reached out to us very quickly,” Ed said. “It was very comforting. We told him then we had visions of doing something good in the community. He’s always so positive. He’s been with us all the way.”
That’s Alan, always quick to help. It’s a trait that worries Ed at times.
“I’m always afraid we’re going to burn him out,” he said with a laugh.
While many may be aware of Alan and his efforts, they might not be aware that his is just a part time position at RRCS.
Many could argue that he’s the face of the organization, as Culpeper Town Police Chief Chris Jenkins contends.
Chief Jenkins had worked with Alan for years, obviously through the police department, but it was when his son Jordan died from suicide that he truly learned the inner workings of Alan’s contributions to our community.
“I can’t think of a person more deserving,” the Chief said. “He’s an impact player, he’s a game changer. I’ve never seen someone so passionate and full of energy to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Much of it is done behind the scenes.”
Alan is a tireless cheerleader. Ed recounted a story from not long ago of having doubts about the differences his coalition was making. Alan quickly pointed out the lives the Long family has touched and the positive impact the Living the Dream Foundation and other coalitions have had on Culpeper.
Now, it’s his turn to receive those same accolades.
“Doing the work he does, all the things his agency is responsible for is all the hot topics in a community,” Chief Jenkins said. “When there’s no money or resources it’s easy to be a naysayer, but there’s no quit in this guy. I don’t know where he comes up with the time and energy that he has. He’s never one that’s short on giving credit to others, very seldom does he take the credit himself.”
The Chief also nominated Alan for the town’s Fourth of July Spirit Award this year, to help bring recognition to the efforts he’s made in combating suicide and substance abuse in our community.
“He really spoke to me about what that is all about,” Chief Jenkins said. “He unselfishly gives of himself. A lot of people don’t know he’s a retired probation, parole guy. I don’t know of a better profession to prepare him for what he does know. He knows people and knows when they are being sincere.”
He seemingly has an endless string of connections. Need help? He knows a counselor. Need funding? He can hook you up with a coalition.
Chief Jenkins recalls being made aware of the Girls on the Run Piedmont through Alan, so the organization could receive funding from Team Jordan. The chief didn’t know such an organization existed until Alan clued him in.
He’s continually educating people in our community. His Gatekeeper training has saved countless lives from suicide.
“We had a lady who came to the first one (Gatekeeper training) we did, she told us when she came to the second one she really felt what she learned in the first one she saved a life,” Ed said. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg for him.”
He routinely talks to the youth in five-county region to let them know they have a voice if they are being bullied.
Alan is that voice.
“We’re fortunate in this community to have him,” Chief Jenkins said.
Without Alan, there would be no coalitions.
“He makes the coalitions happen,” Chief Jenkins said. “He helps us do what we want to. He facilitates and helps guide all the coalitions to find their own identity. Without him I don’t think there would be any coalitions in Culpeper. He’s the guy that makes it all happen.”
“What he’s done in the community through all the different organizations he’s involved with is such a positive impact on so many people in this community,” Ed said. “I can’t think of anybody who deserves this more than Alan.”
I’m sure he’ll read this article and instantly try to deflect the credit. It’s what he does. He has such a positive outlook that he wants to make sure everyone feels the love. His love for this community and his caring for those people he touches is truly genuine and sincere.
He loves Culpeper and we want him to know Culpeper loves him.
Of course, the chief couldn’t help but point out one area where Alan might need some work.
“I’m so tickled to work with him and call him a close friend, but his golf game is not so hot ,” the chief said mischievously. “So I’ve offered to give him some lessons.”
Here’s hoping Alan doesn’t start working on his golf game too much, because Culpeper still needs him.
We’re honored to name him our Citizen of the Year, and hope he continues to make a difference in our community for years to come.
Alan, “you’re the best.”