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Lifelong Washington County resident honored posthumously for work in school nutrition

After serving Washington County Schools for 40 years as the administrator of the school food service program and providing over 50 million meals to school children during that time, Virginia Patton Campbell was honored posthumously for her leadership and pioneering efforts last week.
Alicia Phelps, director of tourism and marketing for the Town of Jonesborough presented Campbell’s sister, Shirley Richards, with a proclamation declaring Oct. 25 to be Virginia Patton Campbell Day in the Town of Jonesborough.
The presentation was made at the Tennessee Food Industry Conference held at the International Storytelling Center. More than 100 school nutrition leaders from across the state attended the conference, which was held in Jonesborough for first time.
Campbell, called a “pioneer” in the school food service industry, was a lifelong resident of Washington County.
She found herself in leadership roles throughout her tenure, including the presidency of the Tennessee School Food Service Association from 1982-83.
In that and other roles, she lobbied nationally for improvements to school food programs and mentored food service employees.
But Campbell didn’t wait for leadership opportunities to come to her.
She initiated and planned the first statewide School Food Service Industry Conference in Tennessee, and was the founder of the Farm To School Program that emphasizes purchasing produce from local farmers.
Campbell is also responsible for the first satellite food production and transportation system in Tennessee and for one of the first computer management software programs for school food service.