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November 20, 2013

Faces of Fauquier: “Spoke” in the wheel of preservation

Photo/Cassandra Brown
County native Karen Hunsberger-Adam says: “Why would you want to live anywhere else?”
The way of life is important in our area. I want to help farmers thrive and keep their way of life. I sort of grew up in the farming atmosphere because my father built silos and dairy barns throughout the county.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Working behind the scenes at the Piedmont Environmental Council’s membership director, Karen Hunsberger-Adam has watched the non-profit group grow from five employees to 42.

“I’m a small part of this organization, but we are all spokes that keep the wheel turning,” she explains.

Ms. Hunsberger-Adam’s job for almost 29 years, rooted in the preservation of land and helping local farmers, grew out of her love for Fauquier County where she has lived all her life.

“There is a Native American quote I have always loved that says, ‘Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, but loaned to you by your children.’ I had a wonderful childhood riding on these country roads and seeing the beautiful vistas. I want my grandchildren to see that,” the Midland native explains.

• Age
50

• Home
The Plains

• Work
Membership director at the Piedmont Environmental Council Warrenton for almost 29 years. Writes solicitations and membership reminders and manages the organization’s database. Started as an administrative assistant at PEC in 1985.

The PEC has allowed me to grow. We are like a family here and we are always willing to get the job done. They began in 1972 and started with approximately 500 members. Now there are about 3,000 members.

• Why do you do the job?
The older I get, the more important my job is and the more important being a part of a community becomes. I want to make sure the life I enjoyed is here for my children and grandchildren. I had a wonderful childhood, riding on these country roads and seeing the beautiful vistas. I want my grandchildren to see that.

• Family
Husband, Paul Adam; two sons, Clayton Hayworth, 29, and Adam Hayworth, 25; two stepsons, Zachary Adam, 14, and Ethan Adam, 9; father, Connie Hunsberger, 96, and six sisters who all live within a 50-mile radius.

• Education
Fauquier High School, 1981, and several certifications in database management.

• Civic involvement

Board member and volunteer with Fauquier Education Farm and the Fauquier Community Food Bank.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
All my life!

• Why do you live here?
Why would you want to live anywhere else? It has the best of everything as far as I’m concerned. The best seasons, country roads, community. I love when you walk down the street and people still know you.

• How do you describe this county?
The way of life is important in our area. I want to help farmers thrive and keep their way of life. I sort of grew up in the farming atmosphere because my father built silos and dairy barns throughout the county.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
Nothing.

• What do you do for fun?
I am a distance walker. I love to walk. Sometimes I think I’m a relative of Forrest Gump because I have solved so many problems with a walk. I have recently become interested in the holistic food movement and I want to read everything I can about it and help others.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
I love Rectortown Road, between Marshall and Upperville, because the scenery is so beautiful. When my husband asks me where I want to go on a drive, I always say Rectortown Road. When I go down that road, it makes me realize I am making a difference working for the PEC.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
If the PEC keeps doing its good work, I hope we will look the same. If we keep the growth in the service districts, then with any luck we will still look the same or very similar. Growth is inevitable.

• Favorite TV show?
“Twin Peaks.” It was a big television show in the 1980s.

• Favorite movie?
“Secondhand Lions” and “The Shawshank Redemption.”

• Favorite book?
“Pride & Prejudice” by Jane Austen will always be my favorite book of all time, because I believe everyone needs a Mr. Darcy.

• Favorite vacation spot?
I love the beach, especially Indian Rocks Beach along the Gulf Coast of Florida.

• Favorite food?

I’m a huge Indian food fan; I love anything with curry in it. I also love sweet potatoes. My husband says I’m going to turn into a sweet potato one day.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
“Never underestimate the job of a secretary and how important they are to an organization. Without a good secretary, you don’t have a good organization.” (The late) Julian Sheer, a friend, told me that.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My children — my two older boys, because I was a single mom at one time and they never complained and never fussed. They are really special.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
My husband has always had a dream to start an alternative liberal arts high school, so I would help him start that dream. I would give money to my kids to buy them a home and give lots of money to the PEC, Fauquier Community Food Bank and Fauquier Education Farm to continue their work.

>> 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:

• 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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