The Journey to Restoring Hope

Steel tires play tight rope on timeworn tracks.

Gears utter resistance.

Empty towns and shadow-capped mountains pass by.

Time fades.

Days spent hopping tracks for thrills.

Empty rails filled with promise of adventure.

Meek stations standing ready.

To carry me home.

To carry me away.


When I watch a train, I see industrial strength combined with effortless grace. History alongside progress. Mystery and solitude. Reliability and togetherness.

As I considered the journey many take to find hope and recovery through life’s more difficult times, the image of a train barreling down an otherwise untouched track came to mind.

The crossroads of choice and action.

The destination a terminal of hope and a promise of adventure.

The quiet left behind following a train’s raucous passing.


Growing up in Roanoke, the billowing smoke of a passing engine and early cries of a train whistle were my childhood’s backdrop. Many journal entries in my teenage years were inspired by paint sprayed on moving metal walls and the untold stories of empty rail cars.

These images have been a part of Roanoke’s landscape since the beginning. The same is true for people struggling with their own health and well-being. There has not been a time in history when people in our community didn’t need help to get through difficult times. There never will be.

Another constant throughout Roanoke’s history: Family Service of Roanoke Valley.

As trains remain part of our community’s story, so does the need for an organization that stands as a sign of hope to so many of our neighbors. That’s why this year, our Roanoke Valley Gives mascot Raggedy Andy is again on the move. He’s touring the sometimes gritty, oftentimes imposing, and always inspiring landscape of Roanoke–yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Please come on this journey with us. Your support through Roanoke Valley Gives means families and individuals in our community can handle the big things life brings along. Your gift helps others get back on track.

Family Service of Roanoke Valley: Restoring Hope since 1901.