Culpeper native Oliver Price works in the background, quietly serving his friends, family and community in various ways, so undercover that many are unaware of who he is or his good deeds.
Wednesday morning, the spotlight turned on his lifetime of service as Price was named the 2019 Culpeper Good Scout at the 20th Annual Breakfast held at the Daniel Technology Center of Germanna Community College.
“Oliver does so many things literally under the radar,” said Good Scout Award chairman Steve Nixon. “I don’t have the time today to go through it all, but he has been a stellar community servant.”
A longtime member of Piedmont Masonic Lodge #75, a member of the Culpeper Branch NAACP and on the board of the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce, Price has given time to the local hospital and the Jaycees as well as March of Dimes and Culpeper Christmas Basket program.
Since 1980, he has worked for Rappahannock Electric Services, currently as director of member services and community relations. Price is a familiar face for the company at many local community events in the area, including at the recently held SperryFest in Sperryville, where he manned the wheel of prizes at an REC booth and greeted festival attendees, tall and small, with a smile.
He rarely misses a meeting of the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors, quietly observing from the audience, and is a past recipient of the chamber’s top honor, the L.B. Henretty Award for Community Service.
Those who spoke about Price at Wednesday’s award ceremony, including fellow Mason John Harrison, emphasized the honoree’s unwavering work ethic. Harrison recalled first meeting Price some 40 years ago and the first impression that he was “one of those educated nerds.”
“Boy, was I wrong,” Harrison said. “He’s just as comfortable with a chainsaw and a tractor as he is with a computer and an encyclopedia. He knows what he’s doing.”
Price has achieved the highest rank possible in the Masons, that of sovereign grand inspector general, his friend said, leading his fellow Masons to look at him with awe.
“Oliver likes thing done right,” Harrison emphasized. “We call it, decent and in order.”
He spoke jokingly at length about Price’s preference for a large breakfast, especially at Cracker Barrel, and said knowing the man has its benefits. In earlier remarks, the Rev. Sanford Reaves said Price was his best friend, Harrison said, and that touched him.
“It means a lot to have a good friend,” Harrison said. “I thank you all for honoring my best friend.”
The honoree’s only child, daughter Kori Price, told the crowd assembled in the Daniel Center that she was just proud to hear of her dad getting things right, something with which she could personally relate.
“He is going to get the job done right and on time,” she said.
The only person not expected to live up Price’s strict standard, Kori added, is her mother, Price’s wife, Kimberly. Price’s daughter spoke with fondness, mostly, of her dad teaching her to ride a tractor at age 8 and forcing her to cut and stack wood as a teen, “to my demise,” she remarked.
“I know how to use an ax because of my dad,” Kori Price said, noting his attention to detail, something she said she has tried to emulate. “It’s about the quality of the work that you do.”
Her father, in addition, taught her the importance of serving others, Kori Price said.
As the ceremony neared its ends, Nixon readied the yellow scout kerchief and the brown Scout Campaign Hat, which Price’s wife and daughter placed on the day’s award recipient.
“It just sounds like you’re a good guy,” Nixon said. “I give you the 2019 Good Scout.”
Applause filled the room as the audience got to its feet in a show of appreciation.
In his modest manner, Price approached the podium to say he appreciated the recognition and getting the phone call informing about it from 2006 Good Scout, John J. “Butch” Davies III.
“He really does think I am running for office,” said Price of his conversation with the former state delegate and local longtime attorney. “I can assure you, no politics, but I do enjoy everything that I do.”
The 2019 Good Scout went on to acknowledge his wife and daughter, past recipient of the Girls Scout’s Gold Award, as well as friends and coworkers in the audience. Price called out Gloria Smith, who recently retired from REC after 40 years and named her husband, John Smith, a cooperative employee for more than 45 years. Price thanked his fellow Masons for attending, members of the NAACP and the local chamber board, saying he hoped he didn’t leave anyone out.
He closed his remarks by repeating what people often tell him, “Nobody knows you Oliver – you are hiding under the radar.” Price added, “You can get a lot done when people don’t know who you are. You just get it done.”