The Patrick Springs Ruritan Club presented its 2022 Outstanding Citizenship Award to Julie Walters Steele.
While living and working in Blacksburg, Virginia, Steele was contacted by the vice-president of Virginia Tech, who was searching for someone to direct the Reynolds Homestead in Patrick County. This was a place which Steele had never heard of. Knowing that she was a “country girl,” the vice-president approached her about considering the position. Steele visited the center. She met the staff, applied for the position and was hired.
Since taking the leadership reins at the Homestead, Steele has worked with the team to continue to offer programming for the community and the schools. She and the team have initiated new outreach efforts, like the development of the
downtown arts center, coordination of Leadership Patrick County, and the coming construction of the commercial teaching kitchen. Steele has plans in the works for a distillery at the Homestead. Her goal is always for the Reynolds Homestead to be something in which the citizens of Patrick County will take great pride.
As if the Homestead isn’t enough to keep her busy, Steele is the driving force behind Envision Critz, an organization that is working to develop a community center for the residents of the Critz community. Steele has assisted with fundraising, grant writing, coordination with Virginia Tech to gain support for design and development, training of community leaders and much more.
Steele is a visionary. Her vision is always for some means to better her community and people around her. Some people are “starters,” some are “finishers.” Steele is both. She isn’t “tireless,” because she is often tired; however, she refuses to sit still. She keeps balance between work and family. Steele is never too busy to make a batch of cookies for someone, for if you know her, you know that a batch of cookies is a sweet extension of her love.
Steele is a proud member of the Critz Community in Patrick County. The Patrick Springs Ruritan Club is very proud of Steele and that she is the 2022 Outstanding Citizenship Award winner.