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HILLSVILLE — Those recognizing Sallie Hall for her 38 years with a nutrition program through the Virginia Extension Service served up a heaping helping of fun on Jan. 4.
Organizers lured Hall to the Carroll Senior Citizens Center for a “roast,” as well as a spaghetti dinner dished out of a row of crockpots.
Hall took time to greet each of the approximately 50 people in attendance, before opening gifts presented by storyteller Vickie Town and hearing memories by Matthew Miller, an Extension agent who worked with her for about six years.
Hall served as a colorful addition to Carroll’s extension office, based on the recollections of her fellow workers and friends. She started out as a volunteer for 20 years and worked 18 as a nutrition program assistant under “SNAP-ED.”
This program worked to educate participants about buying nutritious food on a budget.
Hall was as good an office mate as Miller ever had. She helped and she cared and she stood out for her outgoing personality.
“For the job that she had, she’s the perfect person,” Miller said, in addition to being one of the best people he knows. “She won’t be replaced in any form or fashion.”
Hall didn’t hesitate to tell her colorful stories before anyone, even the lieutenant governor. Some of the stories mentioned by Miller included roasting a watermelon on a big bonfire, Hall’s papal hat blueprint for visitors to Italy, stuffing turkey with popcorn and one involving chicken scratch.
“So, if she takes you to the feed store to buy chicken scratch or watermelon seeds, be prepared,” Miller joked to laughter.
“As a professional in her job, Sallie would always go the extra mile and weigh each individual equally with their concerns and demands,“ Miller told The Gazette. “At times, her matter-of-fact and straight ‘no nonsense’ answers were exactly what her clientele needed and benefited from.”
Miller said he thinks he was chosen to MC the event because he and Hall “were willing to share banter and stories back and forth and we both have the same straight-forward approach to clients.”
Town and Extension Agent Steve Pottorff incorporated some of these stories, plus a few involving Hall’s encounters with patrolling police officers, into a skit where the agent donned a wig and stood in for the retiring nutrition assistant.
But the highlight of the skit had to be Hall belting out a rendition of the song “Hillbilly Bill” before the crowd dug in to eat.