Darlene was “tricked” into giving a tour for WSAZ meteorologist Tony Cavalier and a cameraman, not knowing he was there to present her with the TV station’s well-known “Hometown Hero” award. At the appropriate time, a group of well-wishers gathered not to see the murals but to see one of their top cheerleaders.
Darlene has been an “ambassador” for the Portsmouth Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, leading tours of the floodwall murals for the past nine years. She does around 30 such tours a year, providing a detailed history of the odyssey in which local forward-thinking people including the late Dr. Louis Chaboudy and his wife, Ava, spearheaded the ongoing project of Portsmouth Murals, Inc. that now attracts thousands of visitors.
Darlene’s attention to detail, her knowledge of the local history and the murals in particular, as well as her interest in meeting people, have served this community well. She even takes notes about her visitors, a sort of journal about the people coming to our area.
But what is most important is a first impression, and this kind, friendly and approachable woman does a top-notch job of making visitors feel right at home as they view this concrete tapestry of larger-than-life images from our present and past.
What’s more, she does it all as a volunteer. She wants to do it and steps up to the plate with substantial sacrifice of her own time and resources.
We can all take a good long look at the wisdom of someone like Darlene Moore, and the next time we meet someone who is visiting the area for the first time, or even the 50th time, take a moment to welcome them, make them feel comfortable, let them know this is a community that has many wonderful people and environments in which to have a good time and create some pleasant memories.
And if we all did that, our hometown would have quite a few more heroes.