Open ‘thank you’ letter upon receiving Rural Spirit Award

Alex White award

By Alex White, columnist ~ “Small towns, big potential”

With a full heart, I would like to dedicate this month’s column to thanking the good people of Page County for all of the things that they have allowed for my life.

Specifically, I was recently awarded a Rural Spirit Award for 2020 (I was given the “Next Gen” Award). This national award is a great honor, and it would have been impossible without the many opportunities that our county has graciously granted me.

Thank you all for raising me, supporting me, and giving me the chance to work for places like Page County. I owe you the world!

I have shared the details of this award below (via an excerpt of the related press release).


ST. LOUIS, Nov. 12, 2020 — During one of the most challenging years for communities nationwide in 2020, rural Americans have shown they are working hard to pivot, support and strengthen  their towns and regions. After consideration of nominees, OBP awarded three individuals as winners of  the 2020 Rural Spirit Awards.

“In a year like no other, we are proud to recognize people who prioritize staying positive and focused on  what’s possible,” said Rhonda Ries, president of OBP. “We’re committed to the noble pursuit of possibility, and the Rural Spirit Awards are one way we can help inspire hope. Community support is more important than ever, and we are honored to celebrate people making a difference across America.” 

The Rural Spirit Awards are part of OBP’s Noble Pursuits initiative, an ongoing effort to give back to our communities and support others doing the same. In this third year of the one-of-a-kind rural recognition program, OBP opened nominations from the public in early fall, and recognized three outstanding rural  American leaders as the winners in a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 11… (including):

Next Gen Award: Jack “Alex” White III — Luray, Virginia — Passionate about overcoming the obstacles  facing rural communities, White is a strong advocate for rural areas, which led to his role on the Page County Economic Development Authority…  Along with this achievement, White secured funds to form the Rural Leadership Initiative, a 501(c)3  nonprofit supporting top rural undergraduates as they pursue projects pertaining to rural areas. He was  selected to intern at the White House, serve as a delegate to (a national political) convention, and be part of the National Rural Youth Assembly…

Each of these honorees will receive $2,000 to donate to a nonprofit organization of their choice, with a  donation made in their name. Please visit for more information.  

About OBP 

OBP is an independent and women-owned full-service marketing communications agency. For 32 years, OBP has partnered with leading brands across a wide range of verticals including agriculture, food and  tourism to navigate an ever-changing media landscape in the noble pursuit of possibility. With locations in St. Louis, Kansas City and Nashville, the award-winning OBP team helps clients realize success as they  define it through a variety of services including advertising, branding and communication strategy, design and packaging, experiential, media planning and buying, public relations, research and marketing  intelligence, social and content, and interactive development. Learn more at


Jack “Alex” White is a student at Harvard University, where he is studying Government. While there, he has become the Policy Director for Harvard Undergraduates for Bipartisan Solutions (HUBS) and Senior Content Editor for the Harvard Economics Review. Alex is a lifelong native of Page County and graduate of Luray High School.


PREVIOUS COLUMNS ~ “Small towns, big potential”

Local government matters (now more than ever)

Rural Leadership Initiative announces first class of fully-funded students

As Luray makes headlines, Darryl Haley makes history

Thanking our county for an opportunity (and a lesson)

I’m still proud of Luray; here’s what that really means

State creates new way to benefit from solar panels

FOLLOW-UP on Telehealth: A ‘shot in the arm’ for places like us

Small towns, big potential: What can we do?

Top Post Ad


  1. Alex, first congratulations on your award. You are truly a fine young man. Although you are young your youth should not be looked upon. You have knowledge and leadership qualities beyond your years. I find hope in the future with you and your passion for your community.

  2. Thank you for that Jackie – you’re always the most supportive, and I know that something like that has great value coming from someone as involved as you! That’s why I’m seeking appointment to the town council, and I encourage anyone who agrees with you to sign their support at the following link:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.