by Kathy Sansone, Bull Run Observer

5 May 2011 pp. 1, 32

“These days everyone is busy, and it’s difficult to keep our lives in order. One Nokesville couple, Wally and Connie Covington, seem to have figured out how to stay in the fast lane without being derailed.  Describing them, as busy somehow seems inadequate; staying on track depends on extraordinary planning, communications and support.

“The couple has extraordinary obligations outside the home. As an elected official, Wally serves as Brentsville District supervisor on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. He represents the county on regional transportation planning boards: the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Transportation Planning Board; the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission; the Virginia Railway Express Operations Board and many more. His numerous positions reflect Covington’s support for the expansion of business, the arts and higher education in Prince William County.

“In addition to serving the public, Wally also maintains his own civil law practice in the City of Manassas. He said, ‘You don’t realize how busy you are until you tell someone.’

“Wally’s wife Connie is equally busy. For the past two years, she has worked at her husband’s law practice three days a week. She is also a passionate volunteer for the Rainbow Center, which provides therapeutic riding for children with special needs. Over the last 14 years, Connie has done extensive fundraising for the nonprofit; she currently serves as president of Rainbow’s board of directors.

“Connie has been especially involved with the Rainbow Center’s move to Silver Lake in Haymarket. ‘We’ve built an outdoor ring, an indoor arena that is almost done and a caretaker’s house. We’re still building a barn and continue to build fencing,’ she explained.

“Not the least of the couple’s endeavors is raising their three children: Wally Jr., 17; Travis, 14; and Taylor, 11. Connie pointed out they’re in high school, middle and elementary school. ‘That’s three different schools with three different start times.’

“The youngsters are heavily involved in their sports events; their parents are equally invested in driving them around and attending those events. Wally Jr. is on a travel soccer team and plays football. Travis plays soccer volleyball, soccer and rides her pony. Connie said the sports mean ‘there is usually one of us [Wally or Connie] on the road at any given time.’ Despite their obligations, both parents agree that ’99 percent of the time one of us is there to cheer them on’ at their games.

“The Covingtons share a passion for land; they’ve owned their 32-acre property for 10 years. Connie and the children care for three horses, two dogs, and three cats. ‘I always wanted horses, and Wally made that dream come true,’ she acknowledged.

“For Wally, it’s all about the cattle. ‘It’s great for me and a distraction for the kids,’ he said of owning 36 head of cattle; 30 are at Wally’s parents’ place; six, at home.

” ‘We’re not into milking the cows, and we don’t keep the meat, but we do sell the calves and bulls. I take care of them. We use round bales and automatic waterers.’

“His parents’ place is just three miles away. With 175 additional acres at his disposal, Wally can keep all the cattle he wants. There is plenty of wood to be split, and he makes hay, getting two cuttings a year.

“Farming was a big part of his life. ‘I grew up in 4H and raised cows and turkeys. We sold sweet corn. I was proud to participate in the county fair – showing cattle, sheep and pigs. My dad had all the right farm equipment, which I’m using now,’ Wally recalled.

“How do they get so much done? They agree it’s important to ‘be passionate about what you do; that’s a big help.’ Wally believes if you find your passion, you find your energy. His passions are serving the community, interacting with the public and working with the VRE. For Connie, it is the Rainbow Center and meeting youths’ special needs.

“They are organized; they use Google Calendar. Wally said, ‘We’re very automated in terms of using a calendar. It’s worked great for five or six years; we even put the kids’ [events] on it.’

“Wally’s ‘supervisor duties take place mostly at night’ on Mondays into Tuesdays. He’s at the law firm ‘on Wednesdays and Thursdays, with court appearances on those days,’ he explained and participates in other meetings on Fridays.

“To get so much done, Wally concluded ‘it’s all about good communication.’

“Connie added that ‘sharing the load’ is another critical element. The couple agreed that having family available to help is tremendous. Wally’s mom often helps out with transportation and logistics.

” ‘My dad did Ruritans and Lion’s Club; it seemed like there was more community stuff in those days,’ Wally recalled. He and Connie agreed that, whether it is 4H, Ruritans, a club or scouts, volunteering makes people feel good and want to do more.”