By Kathy Johnson
For the past several years, the nonprofit Rockfish Valley Community Center has sold Christmas trees as one of their annual fundraising events. This year, the center purchased freshly cut North Carolina Fraser firs to sell, but now not all those trees can be sold by the center. RVCC was the victim of a tree theft the first weekend in December.
“What we normally do every year is stack our Christmas trees right in this little courtyard,” explained new executive director G. Stuart Mills. “So, we did that again this year. The trees came in on Thursday [Nov. 29] and we unloaded them and stacked them, just like we always do, and somewhere between Thursday night or Friday night, somebody came in and just helped themselves.”
“The fella who volunteers to run the tree sales for us initially estimated that there were 30 or so missing. Today I found out that was an over-estimate; about 10 or 12 trees were stolen. A lot better than we had originally thought, but it still represents a loss to us of over $400, and we’re a nonprofit,” Mills said.
“For us, that’s money that we’ll never get back, and that’s one of our fundraising events. It’s pretty sad to think that someone would steal from a nonprofit. It’s like stealing from a church. I’m sure they are sitting on the side of the road somewhere selling Christmas trees that should have been sold here.”
RVCC has filled a report with the Nelson County Sheriff’s office, “and I guess we’ll have to deal with the insurance company,” said Mills. Funds from the sale of the freshly-cut trees are used by the center to help with the upkeep and improvements at the center. Remaining trees are available for purchase on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the tree lot and through the Treasure Chest. Tree prices start at $40, with a $5 discount for RVCC members.
The crime is being investigated by Officer William E. Mays of the Nelson County Sheriff’s Department and anyone with information should call the tip line at 877-570-8477. Tips may be made anonymously.