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Community Involvement

Baghouse RenovationsSince the founding of Pounding Mill Quarry Corporation in 1913 by C. M. Hunter, concern for his employees and for the community his quarries serve, has been a top priority. This program started by Mr. C. M. Hunter still holds true in 1998: the Hunter family which has lived in Tazewell County for three generations still places the needs of the county as a priority.

Located in Southwest Virginia, Tazewell County was one of the first of the top coal producing counties but in the 1990’s when King Coal fell from its throne, the Tazewell County School Systems and the Southwest Virginia Community College suffered state and county budget cuts. It became apparent to the Hunters that, as an employer of the county, they must somehow help out.

It would have been easier just to send a check to Southwest Virginia Community College and to buy the local school system a few computers, but the impact would have been temporary. The Hunters wanted to make a lasting impact on the community - something that would last as long as they had been in the quarry business.

From the start of the company’s decision to become involved, it followed a path of assistance to the educational providers in the area. After conferring with the superintendent of schools and the president of the community college, it seemed that following the quarry’s normal course of business could provide the greatest help to them.

The superintendent of schools had outline the need for drilling and excavation work on a lot at he Richlands education complex, which houses Richlands High, Richlands Middle, and Richlands Elementary Schools. The project would have provided an additional area for physical education classes for Richlands Middle and Elementary Schools, as well as providing a badly needed practice field for the football team. The project was scrapped because its cost exceeded the amount of money available. At this point, Pounding Mill Quarry moved in with the manpower and much-need equipment to make this project a reality.

Pounding Mill Quarry was able to help solve another of the school superintendent’s problems. The vocational center wanted to provide a heavy equipment servicing program but was unable to because of budget restrictions. Even without the budget restrictions, it was impossible to buy air compressors and loaders to be used for hands-on training.

Rocky Gap at Full ProductionThe school’s need coincided with Pounding Mill Quarry’s decision to place some of its older equipment in an auction sale. The company decided to give the county’s vocational school two loaders and one air compressor. Pounding Mill also assisted the school in the acquisition of parts for the repair of these pieces of equipment. This program has been implemented and has succeeded.

The subdivision across from the companies Pounding Mill, Virginia facility had no school bus service because the roads were not apart of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s system. The streets were in need of repair and the local school board could not allow buses to travel on them until regular maintenance was provided.

The quarry working in cooperation with the Tazewell County Board of Education agreed to maintain these roads. This agreement resulted in school bus service in the neighboring subdivision and continued until the streets were incorporated into the Virginia Department of Transportation’s system.

The local community college had entered into a fund raiser called Fulfill The Vision. This project would enable the college to do several projects without the use of state funds. The college asked Pounding Mill Quarry Corporation to help in drilling rock that stood in the way of expansion. The company gladly lent a hand; as a result, Southwest Virginia Community College will be able to complete this project without the using instructional funds.

In September of 1995, the Tazewell County School system called upon us to be one of the local industries to help with a newly established educational/business partnership. In the beginning we were hesitant about participating, but agree now that it was money well spent. The educational materials about the Virginia aggregate industry, reading software provided to Springville Elementary and the communications equipment purchased for Dudley Primary demonstrates the role of Pounding Mill Quarry corporation in the community.

The surprise has been the participation of employees from Pounding Mill Quarry with both schools. These activities included judging pumpkin contests, presentations to classes, reading activities and in services for staff. I understand that a Springville Elementary stated to their parents as they passed our Bluefield, Virginia facility that we were their business partner. Such community relations as this can not be purchased through the media.

We were especially impressed with the sign on the marquee recently at Springville Elementary, which stated "Our solid rock is Pounding Mill Quarry, Thanks". We sent news articles as well as photographs to both the Virginia and National Aggregate Associations to demonstrate how quarries and educational partnerships can be mutually beneficial.
Springville Elementary School

After many years of being involved in many community projects, we finally decided to let people, who think of Pounding Mill Quarry Corporation as the industry that crushes rock, creates dust and makes noise, know what good we do. At the recommendation of the Richlands Area Chamber of Commerce we choose to use a Business After Hours Reception, at the local country club, to be our platform. The event was well attended and received by community leaders, politicians, educators and area business people. Through education, involvement and example Pounding Mill Quarry Corporation is earning our communities respect.

As an employer, the company is proud to have a continuing impact within the communities where we do business. By being a good neighbor, the company has learned the way to help our communities is to work within our areas of expertise. Pounding Mill Quarry Corporation owners and employees are proud to live and work in Virginia and West Virginia being involved and conscience of the community around us.

By 1968, Pounding Mill had its’ most successful year under the direction of Mr. C. M. (Budge) Hunter who had taken over the company after the death of his father in 1947.

The third quarry operation was acquired from Pendleton Construction Company who had operated it during the construction of I-77. This plant in Rocky Gap would serve the construction and agriculture market in Bland and Giles counties.

In September of 1984, Pounding Mill concluded the negotiations for its’ fourth quarry with the purchase of Mercer Crushed Stone, a West Virginia Corporation, which is located near Ingleside, West Virginia in Mercer County.

This latest acquisition assures the company of a larger presence in the West Virginia Market. The plant will serve construction and mining markets in the areas of Bluefield, Beckley, and Princeton, West Virginia.

It’s 1998 and a safe bet to say that if he were alive today, Mr. C. M. Hunter, Sr. would not recognize the company he started in 1913. He would no doubt be exceedingly proud of the work his sons and grandsons have done. He would also, no doubt, be proud of the pride and commitment of Pounding Mill Quarries employees who have kept the company at the top of the Virginia’s quarry industry for nearly half a century.

 

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