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June 19, 2014

Faces of Fauquier: Nepal native’s long trek to Va.

Photo/Cassandra Brown
Surja Tamang has worked for the Fauquier County Environmental Sciences Department since 2008.
(Fauquier) has small mountains. People have a kind heart. They are nice and very friendly here. The parents teach their children how to be kind.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
His journey has taken him from Mount Everest to Fauquier County.

Surja Tamang loves to help people.

As a Fauquier County Environmental Services Department employee at the New Baltimore trash and recycling collection site, Mr. Tamang helps community members sort recycle materials and trash.

“We are so lucky to have him serving in the county and in our department,” Trish Ethier, recycling program coordinator said. “We always receive comments from people about how friendly he is. He is a phenomenal man.”

Mr. Tamang grew up in a small farming community in Nepal, where everything got done by hand; the village had no electricity.

Before coming to America, he worked as a sherpa on Mount Everest for about 10 years, guiding hikers through mountain passes while carrying their bags. On one trip, he met his wife.

The physically-demanding, 5,300-meter trek to the base camp requires strong lungs.

“If anyone gets sick, we have to carry them down. They get dizzy or sometimes turn purple. I saved one lady one time. She was dizzy and started to get unconscious,” he said. “It gets cold very quick. You have to keep moving. There are dangers of avalanches.”

Depending on the route, the trek to that base camp takes 14 to 29 days, especially with the increasing number of climbers, according to Mr. Tamang.

“I can meet different people from other countries and share ideas. Most of the tourists, they just go to base camp, enjoy the viewpoint and take photographs. They need more practice to climb.”

Although he has never reached the summit of Mount Everest, Mr. Tamang attempted the climb but had to return because his guest became sick.

He says if he won $1 million, he would “Help the needy in Nepal who are not able to go to school because of finances so they can get an education.”

• Age
43

• Home
Viewtown in Rappahannock County

• Work
Full-time Fauquier County Environmental Services Department employee since 2008. He helps people sort trash and recycle materials. He worked as a sherpa at Mount Everest for 10 years in Nepal.

• Why do you do the job?
I enjoy helping the public and helping people.

• Family
Wife, Medge Carter; son, Amrit, who just graduated from Rappahannock County High School. My parents and five brothers live back in Nepal.

• Education
I finished through 10th grade (the highest grade) in Nepal and then I worked in the health/medical field.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
I have lived in Rappahannock County for nine years.

• Why do you live here?
I was born in Kalche in the Nuwakot district in Nepal. My wife is from here and she came over to Nepal. She came to Mount Everest and I was her guide. We met, and I came to America with her in 2005.

• How do you describe this county?

It has small mountains. People have a kind heart. They are nice and very friendly here. The parents teach their children how to be kind.

• What would you change about Fauquier?

Nothing.

• What do you do for fun?

I enjoy my garden. I have lettuce, kale, rutabaga, and squash in my garden. It is organic and I pick the bugs off by hand. I enjoy my pets, jogging with my dogs.

• What’s your favorite place?
I enjoy hiking Mary’s Rock in Shenandoah National Park. It’s peaceful.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?

There will be more construction and houses. Trees will be cut down.

• Favorite TV show?
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and NBC News.

• Favorite movie?
“The Sound of Music”

• Favorite book?

I don’t really have one.

• Favorite vacation spot?

Virginia Beach.

• Favorite food?
I cook Nepal food — rice and lentil, curry and vegetables. I like seafood.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
My parents always said try things and do what your heart says, but don’t disobey the law.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My wife. She is kind and always helps people in the community.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?

Pay off things, then buy a little bit of land. Help the needy in Nepal who are not able to go to school because of finances so they can get an education.

>> Suggest a “Faces of Fauquier” profile subject

Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Woody Isaac found his calling as a chef at age 16.


• Horses take Tommy Lee Jones all over the county.


• Retired nurse Angela Neal continues to volunteer in hospital ER.

• Gilmer Lee really knows high school sports in Fauquier.

• Stage remains central to Tim Bambara’s life journey.

• Bus driver Melissa Strain’s weekend job all about “fun.”


• Bartender Taylor Edgar has a pretty good standup routine.

• A nomad childhood led Paul Schmeling to start a moving company.


• Adam Lynch’s family owns café with local food focus and a special name.

• Patricia McMahon Rice turns passion for art into her livelihood.

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.


• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.


• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.


• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.


• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.


• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people


• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.


• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.


• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.


• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.


• Pastor a constant in Calverton.


• She keeps the courthouse spotless.


• He loves working working outdoors at the park.


• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton


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mmolebash · June 20, 2014 at 10:04 am
A wonderful man. Always cheerful and very helpful. Glad he was recognized, he deserves it!
Observer · June 20, 2014 at 8:22 am
He is a great guy!
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