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February 6, 2020

Faces of Fauquier: Helping people “fix” disagreements

Photo/Don Del Rosso
“People come in here agitated, upset,” Aaron Addison says. “I feel good knowing that I played a part in helping them fix what was wrong.”
There’s going to be a better day for somebody out there, because of what I’m doing and what we’re doing.
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Staff Journalist
To earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Mary Washington, the Warrenton man had to complete an internship.

The summer before his last semester at the Fredericksburg college, Aaron V. Addison landed one with the Warrenton-based Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center at 98 Alexandria Pike.

Mr. Addison’s six-week experience as assistant to PDRC Executive Director Lawrie Parker proved more rewarding and productive than he might have imagined.

With no solid employment prospects as his December 2018 college graduation approached, he got a call from Mrs. Parker, who offered him a program manager’s positon.

“ ‘We thought you did great work’,” Mr. Addison said she told him. “ ‘We’d love to have you back. You’re a great fit’.”

He joined the nonprofit mediation group as a contract worker in January 2019. Mr. Addison and Lisa Barkema help manage PDRC’s “Community Justice and Peacebuilding Program.”

Funded with a PATH Foundation grant, the program seeks to “bring early access to conflict resolution, conflict management strategies in general to the community,” said Mr. Addison, 25.

His responsibilities include spreading the word about the center’s extensive services and recruiting volunteers who would be trained to handle community disputes and “restorative justice” cases, the Fauquier native explained.

“Restorative justice” cases often involve teenagers who “did something wrong that they shouldn’t have,” he said.

The process allows for out-of-court solutions.

Hypothetically, “a kid knocks out a window and maybe the neighbor will come directly to us and we’ll help sort it out,” Mr. Addison said.

To make amends, a restoration agreement might require the teen to mow the affected neighbor’s lawn and pay to replace the broken window, he said.

Raising PDRC’s profile and services, Mr. Addison meets with individuals, community groups, organizations and law enforcement agencies in Fauquier, northern Culpeper and Rappahannock counties.

“I introduce them to PDRC — who we are, what we do,” he said.

The work and the organization’s mission seem to suit him.

“In the back of my head, I know I’m building relationships that are going to fix things,” said Mr. Addison, who hopes to become a certified mediator in March. “They’re going to help make something better.

“There’s going to be a better day for somebody out there, because of what I’m doing and what we’re doing. At the end of the day, we’re an organization serving people.”

• Age

• Home 
Near Warrenton

• Work
Program manager/bookkeeper, Piedmont Resolution Dispute Center, Warrenton, January 2019 to present; fabricator, Space Saver Self-Storage Co., Richmond, September to December 2014; sales associate/driver, Special Occasions, Warrenton, 2009-13.

• Why do you do the job?
We handle all kinds of things. People come in here agitated, upset. Some people come in and they totally work it out. I feel good knowing that I played a part in helping them fix what was wrong.

I help them come to an understanding with another person that brought peace to their life and hopefully in the future — even though I’m not there to see it or witness it — they will be better off. That’s why I do what I do.

And, I need the job.

• Family
Mother, Leslie Addison.

• Education
Bachelor’s degree, business administration, University of Mary Washington, 2018; Middleburg Academy, 2013.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
Twenty-five years. All my life.

• Why do you live here? 
It’s home. My family’s been here for hundreds of years, and I haven’t had a reason to leave yet.

• How do you describe this county? 
Big. A lot of room to move around. There’s country, farmland. That’s kind of why I love it.

It’s very comfortable. I like the pace of life. But, it bothers me that suburbs are popping up. There’s more and more people. The traffic’s gotten worse. I don’t like how long it takes to get from one side of town to the other.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
I would like the county to have more recreational things to do — a movie theater, bring the bowling alley back. That was something I used to love to do as a kid. There’s no recreational things to do, unless you’re into the outdoors, which I am.

If you’re into going to social gathering places — like Carousel ice cream — we kind of don’t have a lot of that.

• What do you do for fun? 
Go to concerts, parties. I love music. I’ve played the guitar since middle school. I play like the saxophone, harmonica. I sit around and make noise.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Crockett Park (near Midland).

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years? 
More and more people will be moving here. Farmland’s going to be replaced with suburbs and housing complexes. Word’s gotten out about Fauquier as a nice place to live. It’s not too far from D.C., not too close.

• Favorite TV show?
“Justice League”

• Favorite movie? 
“Donnie Darko”

• Favorite book?
“The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Arthur Conan Doyle.

• Favorite vacation spot? 
Myrtle Beach, S.C.

• Favorite food? 
Macaroni and cheese.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom? 
My grandmother (Sonja Addison). Love many, trust few. I’ve always liked the way it sounded. You can love as many people as you want, but be kind of cautious about how many you trust. I’m nice to everybody. I smile and laugh with everybody. But I’m cautious about certain things. I don’t show my hand all the way. I’ve been overly open with people in the past, and it’s come back to bite me.

I’ve met some really nice people in my life and I’ve met some not so nice people.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My grandfather (Victor Addison Sr.). He was always a great example to me of what it meant to be a person and a man and how to live in the world. He’s taught me how to do most of things I do in my life — working on cars, go hunting, fishing.

• What would you do if you won $5 million in the lottery? 
I’d pay off my mom’s house, pay off my grandparents’ house, invest in my business. And the rest of it — buy cars, four-wheelers, fancy guitars and all that good stuff. I would love to have a plane. I always wanted to be one of those private-jet people.

Have a suggestion?
Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? Email Don Del Rosso at or Lou Emerson at
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niceabrown · March 15, 2020 at 1:46 pm
Disagreement is part of our lives. It is totally normal that people have disagreements. How they react to these differences - that is the problem. I had a friend in college who believed that the earth is flat. As it turned out, there are a lot of such people. I was surprised incredibly. Anyway, he was a good writer and even wrote articles for our regional nature journal. He continue to be one of the top writers in college and a really smart man. We knew that we had disagreements, but we never argued about this. He accepted my words, and I accepted his words. This is how adults do.
bloggerjaan · February 12, 2020 at 6:04 am
Yes, your smartphone is very smart indeed. But while it’s a great camera, a useful GPS, an excellent internet portal and a decent telephone, let’s face it: Mp3 Rocket it’s almost certainly a rotten music player.
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