Ed Dalrymple tried to imagine who was being described as recipient of the L.B. Henretty Memorial Outstanding Citizen Award during the Culpeper County Chamber of Commerce’s 105th annual meeting.
The local businessman and philanthropist, along with about 250 other chamber members, had enjoyed the beef-and-chicken banquet held Nov. 7 at Germanna Community College’s Daniel Technology Center. He was happy for the award winners who had already been announced.
Jon Krawchuk of Culpeper Media Network, exercising his resonant made-for-radio voice, presented the awards.
Listening to Krawchuk describe the Henretty recipient’s community contributions, Dalrymple recalled, “Several people came to mind at first.”
But then he mentioned asphalt, Cedar Mountain Stone, and Germanna Community College.
Dalrymple realized the award was going to him.
“That’s when it suddenly dawned on me,” he said. “It was a complete surprise.”
The award bestowed on Dalrymple is the Culpeper chamber’s most prestigious.
Established in 1971 by L.B. Henretty, it was named for him after his death in 1975.
A past president and director of the chamber, Henretty was a conservationist and local businessman who “believed strongly that citizens should give freely of themselves for the betterment of their fellow men,” according to chamber literature.
Chamber board members analyze Henretty nominees for their voluntary contributions—individually or through organizations—to society, whether of community, county or state significance.
“The primary consideration shall be basic effectiveness of service and leadership which results in tangible accomplishment,” the chamber’s guidelines state.
A family heritage
Dalrymple grew up in Elmira in upstate New York, raised by parents who were themselves examples of dedication to community.
“My parents were always lifting those around them, and I watched that example—that’s just the way I was raised,” he said in an interview last week.
Dalrymple is a big name in the rock business, with a history that reaches back four generations.
The family’s original business, a gravel supply operation, began in Elmira in 1902, shoveled rock by hand and delivered it to customers in horse-drawn wagons.
Now a conglomeration of companies that span several Eastern states, the Dalrymple Companies, presided over by Ed Dalrymple, build highways and airport runways and supply construction materials, including crushed-stone aggregates and hot-mix asphalt.
Dalrymple and his wife, Cathy, and their four children came to Culpeper to open their Cedar Mountain Stone quarry 26 years ago.
“It has really high-quality stone, good for making asphalt or concrete,” he said of the quarry. “That’s what brought us to the area. We manufacture the stone in different sizes and ship it out by truck or rail to other areas of the state.”
Dalrymple is president of Chemung Contracting Corp., Dalrymple Holding Corp., and Cedar Mountain Stone Corp. He is in the middle of a four-year term as vice chair of the state board that governs Virginia’s community colleges.
“Virginia’s been really good to us; it’s a pleasure for us to give back,” Dalrymple said.
Among the chamber’s accolades read by Krawchuk at the banquet was the assertion that Dalrymple “never says ‘No’ to anything that supports the well-being of this community—whether directly involved volunteering his time and efforts, or providing resources or financial backing for the cause.”
Dalrymple and his wife have been intimately involved in the success of the Piedmont Area Soap Box Derby and its educational aspects, regularly help with the Culpeper Free Clinic and its fundraisers, such as the Oyster Fest, and assist in a variety of ways with the Culpeper Air Fest.
For the past three years, a key aspect of the Air Fest has been its STEM program.
“We’ve had about 1,500 fifth-graders go through the Air Fest STEM Day now,” said Ben Sherman, who lives in Orange and has worked with Dalrymple on the program. “Ed is always looking to help others, give them a chance—and the STEM program is a great example of that.”
Dalrymple also supports the community’s emergency response workers and backs the Culpeper-Madison-Rappahannock Farm Show, where 4-H students raise and show their livestock.
At his businesses, Dalrymple has initiated a number of internship and apprenticeship programs, to give young people a chance and mentor them for greater success in a positive and encouraging way, the chamber said.
When how he feels his work has been most rewarding, Dalrymple said, “There isn’t anything more fun than identifying a need and helping someone find a new career or improve in significant ways.”
Working with Ben Sherman, Germanna Community College’s business and career coordinator for industry and construction, Dalrymple has developed a partnership between the college, the Virginia Asphalt Association, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Community College System.
Through Dalrymple’s efforts, students statewide are trained through Germanna’s Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper via online classes or in labs onsite, as well as at the college’s Center for Workforce Development in Fredericksburg to certify in asphalt-related materials, participate in an asphalt-technologist apprenticeship program and, eventually, gain an asphalt technologist associate’s degree.
Since the partnership’s start in 2017, Sherman said, “We’ve had close to 1,700 students go through that program from across the state.” It sees a mix of different kinds of students, ranging in age from 18 to 50 or older.
Sherman said Dalrymple serves on the Germanna Educational Foundation board and helps with its new Pathways technical-trades effort, among other things. Dalrymple provides jobs to, or other helps, many people who just need a chance, he said.
Not many business leaders will take such risks, Sherman said.
“I don’t know where he gets the energy; he’s just a ball of fire,” he said. “Ed is constantly doing things to enhance his work and improve the lives of those around him—he does so many things.”