August 1, 2020
Faces of Fauquier: Doing his best to help others
Photo/Don Del Rosso
A 19-year member of the Sumerduck Ruritan Club, Mike Timm also volunteers at Verdun Adventure Bound.
We all need to use the talents we have to make our communities better — whether it’s helping the homeless, working with the youth, working with the elderly.
The older the Sumerduck man got, the more he understood the value of community.
“The government can only do so much,” said Mike Timm, 72, a retired Fairfax County school teacher. “It’s the grassroots people who step up and take care of each other.”
A 19-year member of the Sumerduck Ruritan Club, Mr. Timm knows that better than most.
“Anyone that mentions somebody in the community that needs something, the club takes care of them,” explained the former drama instructor. “Somebody needs a ramp because they’re disabled, somebody needs a hospital bed because they’re handicapped, somebody needs a ride back and forth to the hospital, the club covers it.”
The Sumerduck Ruritans also provide meals to the hungry, scholarships to college-bound high school seniors and host fundraisers and dinners to honor seniors, veterans and others, Mr. Timm said.
“It just goes on and on, what the club does.”
In 1973, Mr. Timm and his wife Jackie — at the time a Marine Corps enlistee stationed in Washington — moved from Ohio to Northern Virginia.
That year, he took a job teaching English at Joyce Kilmer Middle School — the first of three Fairfax County school system classroom assignments during a three-decade-plus career there.
Though he remained devoted to teaching, the Sumerduck-Fairfax commute became a grind and began to take a physical toll, recalled Mr. Timm, who retired in 2004.
“It was hurting my back,” he said of the 100-mile per day roundtrip. “And sometimes it would take three hours, if there was an accident, to get home. It took an hour and a half most days to get home.
“I had full retirement. I couldn’t do the commute anymore.”
But because he still had the teaching “bug in me,” Mr. Timm substituted in Fauquier public schools for about the next four years.
In 2011, he added a couple of careers to his resume as an assistant at Fox Wood Works in Morrisville and a counselor at Verdun Adventure Bound, an outdoor education camp in Culpeper County.
He left Fox Wood Works in 2017 as his Verdun duties expanded to include camp director and later artistic director.
Mr. Timm this summer will give up his volunteer artistic director post at Verdun but will continue to help out as needed.
Meanwhile, “I want to spend more time with my family — the kids, grandchildren” and eventually volunteer at his church, he said.
Rocky Run Middle School (Chantilly), 1980-2004; Charlotte Amalie High School, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, 1979-80; Chantilly High School, 1975-79; Joyce Kilmer Middle School (Vienna), 1973-75.
• Why do you volunteer?
That’s my duty. I enjoy it. It’s what a citizen should do. We all need to use the talents we have to make our communities better — whether it’s helping the homeless, working with the youth, working with the elderly.
It’s sort of my job, before I die, to do as much as I can to help others.
Wife Jackie, six children and 11 grandchildren.
Master’s degree, curriculum and instruction, University of Colorado, 1978; bachelor’s degree, English literature, John Carroll University (Ohio), 1972; Saint Charles Borromeo High School Seminary (Ohio), 1966.
• Civic and/or church involvement
Member, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Warrenton, 1978 to present; Sumerduck Ruritan Club, 2001 to present.
• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
About 42 years.
• Why do you live here?
We moved here because it was the only affordable place in the D.C. area. It’s close enough to D.C., the mountains and Richmond, if we want to go somewhere.
I like the quiet and the sense of community here — people helping people, a lot of churches and nonprofits to help you here.
• How do you describe this county?
A mix of rural living and a bedroom community. I would describe it as a moderate-growth community. It’s quiet, and I can see the stars.
• What would you change about Fauquier?
I’d like more things for kids and families, like a movie theater, skating rink, bowling alley.
I’d like to see Bealeton and Remington turn sort of into what Warrenton is — a gathering place. There’s no place in Bealeton that’s sort of like a town square.
I’d like our teachers to be paid more, because once a teacher’s in Fauquier County two or three years, they go somewhere else — where the salaries are substantially better. And so we’re losing a lot of good teachers.
• What do you do for fun?
I like to go in our pool, exercise, gardening. I write poetry. I walk my dog “Arrow.” My wife and I travel. We’re hitting the last eight states that we have visited in the United States.
I also make home-made birthday cards for everybody in the family. And that takes me quite a long time, because it’s probably a couple hundred cards I make a year.
• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area, Sumerduck.
• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
I think that we technologically will have more homes connected (with broadband service) than we have now, especially in the southern end of the county.
I don’t think it’s going grow much. I don’t see any big changes.
• Favorite TV show?
NOVA on PBS.
• Favorite movie?
“Once Upon a Time in the West”
• Favorite book?
“Seeds of Contemplation” by Thomas Merton
• Favorite vacation spot?
Nags Head, N.C.
• Favorite food?
• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
Recently, I visited a monastery out West with my wife and met a 90-year-old monk. And I said to him, “What’s your secret of being so happy at this age?” And he said, “Patience and perseverance.” And I think those are going to be my two mantras as I get older.
• Who’s your hero and why?
I don’t think there are heroes. But I met (Verdun Adventure Bound founder Dr. David M. Snyder), and he taught me that even in old age you have a lot to give other people. And, you still have a lot more energy to burn. Just being with him the first year or two inspired me to continue to do things with kids, nonprofits and my family and do whatever I can to still be creative.
• What would you do if you won $5 million in the lottery?
I’d take my entire family on a vacation. Then I would make sure that each of the families have money. And then I would give to Verdun and the Sumerduck Ruritan Club.
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Becca · August 1, 2020 at 3:09 pm
Really incredible to learn about such a generous person. Thank you, Mr. Timm, for your many contributions to our community
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