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January 15, 2014

Faces of Fauquier: She matches children, families

Photo/Cassandra Brown
“I walk with friends almost three miles every morning,” says Fauquier County Social Services veteran employee Shawn LaRue. “It’s a great way to start the day.”
Contributed Photo
Ms. LaRue (left) and other Governor’s Award winners at Dec. 23 event with Bob McDonnell and Terry McAuliffe.
What we do here has a significant impact for the good. Everything we do revolves around finding a child a permanent home, whether it’s with their birth family, relatives or a new home.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
She believes every child matters. With more than 30 years of experience as a family services worker at the Fauquier County Department of Social Services, Shawn LaRue finds permanent homes for children.

“What we do here has a significant impact for the good,” Ms. LaRue explained. “Everything we do revolves around finding a child a permanent home, whether it’s with their birth family, relatives or a new home.”

In December, she received a Governor’s Award for her career in support of adoption. In 2013, with an average foster care caseload of 60, Ms. LaRue completed 10 agency adoptions, working within the best interests of children and families. She conducts at least two training sessions a year for prospective foster and adoptive parents.

“Shawn LaRue exemplifies the innovation and passion that is needed in adoption,” noted the award, presented by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe (D). “She works from a philosophical premise of “promising a future for each child and that adoptive families must ‘delight’ in their children.”

Originally from Bath County, Ms. LaRue said Fauquier’s rural atmosphere reminds her of home. She hopes Fauquier will “carefully expand the tax base while preserving the feel of the county, to make it easier for people to both live and work here.”

• Age
55

• Home
Orlean

• Work
Family services worker at the Fauquier County Department of Social Services since October 1982, focusing on foster care and adoptions.

• Why you do the job?
What we do here has a significant impact for the good. Everything we do revolves around finding a child a permanent home, whether it’s with their birth family, relatives or a new home.

• Family
Several adult daughters; husband, Dwayne Nashwinter, deceased.

• Education
Bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in music, from The College of William & Mary, 1980.

• Civic and/or church involvement
I’m very involved in my church, Leeds Episcopal Church in Markham. I sing in my church choir and with the Warrenton Chorale.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
Thirty-two years, since October 1982. I have lived here longer than anywhere else.

• Why do you live here?
I live here because my husband Dwayne Nashwinter grew up here. In 1995, he died of leukemia. I stayed because of the all the support my work environment and the community gave me at that time. This is where I wanted to stay and raise my daughters. I love the area. It’s beautiful.

• How do you describe this county?
It’s a beautiful place to live. It’s rural to an extent, but you can drive and be in the city in 45 minutes. I’m originally from Bath County, so it sort of reminds me of where I grew up — the rural atmosphere. It’s like home, but here you can expand your horizons to other areas like D.C., where you can go to the zoo or the Kennedy Center.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
It has been increasingly more difficult over the years to live and work in the county. I think the county needs to carefully expand the tax base while preserving the feel of the county, to make it easier for people to both live and work here.

• What do you do for fun?

I like to sing, play the flute and the piano. My family is very musical. I walk with friends almost three miles every morning. It’s a great way to start the day. I read, watch movies and enjoy occasional cocktails.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Fauquier has so many local wineries that are great. They are easy to get to and out in the countryside. Markham is also a beautiful part of the county.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
It has changed so much in 30 years, since when I first came here. I would have never guessed we would have so many shopping centers. It’s grown up and I’ve grown up at the same time. I think it will probably lose more of the ruralness because more of the city is creeping out towards us from Gainesville. It might not change as much in the next 30 years as it has, but I’ve seen it happen.

• Favorite TV show?
“Downton Abbey”

• Favorite movie?

“The Green Mile” with Tom Hanks. “The Hobbit” and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series and science fiction movies.

• Favorite book?
“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier

• Favorite vacation spot?
The beach.

• Favorite food?
I love anything Italian. If it is Italian, it has to be good!

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
My mother told me when I first started working, “Don’t get so wrapped up in things that you forget to take time out for yourself. When you are taking care of others, don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way.”

• Who’s your hero and why?
My late husband, Dwayne. He was a good person who cared a lot about his family and the community. He had a lot of integrity in his work and personal life. He was a brave person.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
Pay off my house, finish educating my children, save some and give some to many local charities.

>> 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:

• 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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