When the COVID-19 pandemic hit local businesses hard earlier this year, Verdun Adventure Bound was not left unscathed.
The non-profit organization in Rixeyville, which is used by a variety of groups for camping and other team-building exercises, was forced to shut down all of its programming effective March 13.
At that time, John McCulla had been working at Verdun for about six months. Beginning as an intern last fall through his degree program at Lord Fairfax Community College, he had just been offered the role of a part-time facilitator shortly before the pandemic hit.
The effects of the pandemic eliminated Verdun’s ability to compensate McCulla for his new role. Despite that, he has continued to work solely on a volunteer basis for the maintenance and upkeep of the organization's facilities.
"John has worked tirelessly to ensure Verdun comes out of this crisis a more beautiful and improved place for the people of our community," said Sean McElhinney, Verdun's challenge course manager. "These projects are dirty, exhausting and time-consuming, and they include things like repairing and staining our 50-foot climbing tower, making repairs on low ropes elements, removing large dead trees, cleaning and reorganizing the big red barn and more.
"The Verdun policy has been that employees are not required to come in," McElhinney continued. "Nonetheless, John has continued to come in, and none of these projects could have been completed without his unwavering work ethic."