How I got involved in helping the Homeless in Prince William County, Virginia

William Bill GoldenI come to learn about the homeless in a unique way.

Sure, I’ve seen the blue tents and some homeless standing on street corners. Yet, it was not that long ago that I went for medical treatment every day for seven weeks. Each day at 9AM there was the same person on the same street corner with a sign that said: ‘Just lost my job. I have two young kids. Please help!’ Sure. OK. I have also been approached a number of times by another person in the same parking lot over a three year period that zooms in on people just getting out of their car. Her story: ‘I forgot my purse and $5 will help get me enough gas to safely get home.’ Sure. OK. You have a great day until you corner me in the parking lot again!

It can be easy to write some folks off as scammers.

Back in October 2014, I was at a committee meeting for a local civic association. They are all good people. They want to help. They want a better community. The topic of homelessness came up and how that would be a good topic for a community information and education panel. Truthfully: I was indifferent. However, it bothered me greatly that the discussion quickly turned into almost an attack on the homeless and somewhat on the person (strong disparagement rather than an attack) that proposed the topic for us to focus on.

As the committee chair, that set my hair on fire. Admittedly there did not seem to be much enthusiasm for the topic from the committee, and my own experiences had jaded me. However, every idea needs examination when the proposer went to the effort to put together pages of supporting data.

If only to determine the viability of the idea of homelessness as an area of concern in our community I agreed to personally assist the topic proposer in learning more about the topic and to personally investigate.

One other committee member challenged me to do more than just to learn more. Go meet with homeless groups and go meet the homeless. So in early December, just after Thanksgiving I did. I got out and started meeting the homeless in person. It has been an education. I have learned that ‘I just lost my job’ and ‘I forgot my purse’ are anomalies. Our community is full of people in real need. Hundreds. The official count is almost 500. The real number is undoubtedly higher.

After failing to get my civic association to do more than to just talk about it, or to show much interest in wanting to learn more, I made the decision to start My goal is simple: enable those that are trying to help those less fortunate to be more successful.

The homeless are not out there scamming and mooching their way through life. Most have some major challenges and most face it humbly without seeking handouts of any kind. In fact, one of the things that I discovered is that an amazing number of homeless may live in tents on whatever piece of land they can squat upon … but they also have jobs. Those jobs just do not support them well enough to live in the housing that is available to them.

I am not an activist, at least not in the traditional sense. There is nothing specific that I am seeking to change.

I am not an advocate. I am not asking government for anything, other than maybe some creative alternatives to services that it provides to other citizens.

I am continuing to learn and in the process I have discovered members of my community exist in their daily lives at great risk. Hopefully, can connect those with need with those that can help.

Bill Golden

Got news about helping those less well off? Send to

Quantico National Military Cemetary, Triangle, Virginia … and the Hammer of Thor

Quantico MCB, Triangle, Virginia

Quantico National Military Cemetary is just down the road about 15 miles from my home. For just as many years I have meant to visit it. Yesterday was beautiful weather and so I found another Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) to make the short road trip with me. (Two chiefs are more than a tribe!)

Al Alborn
Al Alborn (USA, Ret) was my travel companion to visit the Quantico National Cemetary.

While the cemetary sits adjacent to Quantico Marine Corps Base, it is truly a national cemetary with members of all branches of military service resting there.

Do you have a relative buried in a national cemetary? Just curious? There is a central database of all burials for all national cemetaries provided by the Veterans Administration: Search Now.

One of the more curious aspects of the visit was discovering various kinds of religious symbols on some of the gravestones. Below is an example of just some — to include a symbol for Atheists and another that is ‘The Hammer of Thor’.

Gravestone Religious Symbols

There are many other (almost 60) approved religious symbols that can appear on a veteran’s gravestone. The Veterans Administration refers to these symbols as ‘Emblems of Belief‘.


Being a family historian I did some quick research on all Goldens interred at Quantico and have added some information about their lineages. Anyone with additional information is welcome to write to me at


Clinton E. GoldenGolden, Clinton E
TN // US Coast Guard
War Service: Korea
Birth: 05/20/1931
Death: 04/10/1993
Buried At: Section 7 Site 247

Race: Black/African-American
Descended from: Edward Golden (1875 – aft 1931) and Alice Howard (1875 –  aft 1931), both born in Louisiana.


Harold K. GoldenGolden, Harold K
MM2 // Navy and Us Army
War Service: World War II
Birth: 11/18/1915
Death: 08/26/1995
Buried At: Section 11 Site 504 FindAGrave

Race: White/Causcasian
Descended from:  Richard Golden (1740 – 1795) and Mary Francis ‘Frankie’ Lowe (1750 – 1812), both of Ireland and immigrants to Georgia, later living in Kentucky.

and his wife: Golden, Elsie K
Birth: 02/06/1917
Death: 06/27/2000


Linwood GoldenGolden, Linwood
TEC4 // US Army
War Service: World War II
Birth: 06/15/1924 VA
Death: 11/05/1994 VA
Buried At: Section 6 Site 487

Race: Black/African-American
Descended from: James Linwood Golden (1903 – aft 1924) and Irene Proctor (1910 – aft 1924), both born in Virginia.

and his wife Golden, Alice
Birth: 12/17/1917
Death: 12/05/1994


Ronald Blair GoldenGolden, Ronald Blair
PFC // US Army
War Service: Korea
Birth: 11/16/1934 WV
Death: 03/18/2014 WV
Buried At: Section 25 Site 58


Race: White/Caucasian
Descended from: Scott Paine Golden (1836 – aft 1890) and Harriett Brown (1855 – 1932), both born in (West) Virginia.


William Arthur Golden SrGolden, William Arthur Sr
SGT // US Army
War Service: Korea
Birth: 01/08/1933 DC
Death: 01/09/2003 VA
Buried At: Section 18 Site 391

Race: White/Caucasian
Descended from: Robert Francis Golden (1855 DC – 1920 DC) and Ataway (“Addie” ??) Bailey (1863 DC or MD – 1909 DC)


Willie Franklin GoldenGolden, Willie Franklin
PFC // US Army
War Service: World War II
Birth: 11/04/1926
Death: 11/10/1991 VA, Fredericksburg
Buried At: Section 10 Site 500

Race: Unknown
Descended from: Unknown

Find Your Relative
National Military Cemetary Search

All gravestone images are courtesy of The Park Memorial to ‘Combat Veterans Wounded’ is from the Veterans Administration website for the Quantico National Cemetary. Photos of Linwood Golden and Ronald Blair Golden are from obituaries that I found online. The photo of Al Alborn was taken by myself, Bill Golden.

A First Bottle Review: Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin Stout Beer

Am trying out all of the season pumpkin beers. This week am trying ‘Boxcar Pumpkin Stout‘ from Starr Hill Breweries from Charlottesville, Virginia.

The pumpkin flavor is very much there, but on the back of the tongue. The stout is very much there with the wonderful roasted flavor on the tip of my tongue.

I adore stouts. Am not sure that this mix was meant to be. But since these bottles of cold flavor are paid for then I intend to continue seeing if the flavors eventually merge. Hopefully they do by the third bottle. Am not a four bottle person … anymore.

Beer - Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin Stout
Beer – Starr Hill Boxcar Pumpkin Stout


1952 Graduation Announcement of Tidewater Area Students, University of Virginia

John Davis Norfleet of Hickory, Virginia graduated in 1952 from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Memory informs me that it was a general study of law, but that is unconfirmed.

From the local regional newspaper, probably the Virginia Pilot.

May 1952 - local Tidewater announcement of UVA graduates, to include John Norfleet of Hickory, Virginia
May 1952 - local Tidewater announcement of UVA graduates, to include John Norfleet of Hickory, Virginia
1941 Graduation notice of John D Norfleet
1941 Graduation notice of John D Norfleet
1941 Graduation card of John D Norfleet
1941 Graduation card of John D Norfleet
1937 graduation certificate of John Norfleet
1937 Elementary School Graduation Certificate of John Norfleet

Am a family historian of the Norfleet family (came to America in 1636/37 at Jamestown from Norfleet, England) and the Richard Golden family (came to America at Savannah, Georgia by way of Ireland). I welcome your photos, stories and memories. If you have no one to leave them to the please consider sending them to me. I promise to keep them safe, to digitize them, and to share them with the world. You can reach me at is Bill’s World

I grew up a traveler. Was born in Virginia. Many years later I have reset my roots again in Virginia.

My family moved to Alabama while I was still in first grade. Second grade started in Georgia and I finished in Florida. Even in Florida I went to three different elementary schools.

Middle school and high school years were both stable and very memorable parts of my life. Yet the travel bug had bitten me. I remember reading about the Roman and Greek empires and vowing to myself that I would see what remains of them one day. I have not (yet) made it to Greece but have traveled widely otherwise, and been to Pompeii and to Venice a number of times.

At home, our house has many languages in it. My wife is Japanese and both of my sons were born in Japan. My wife studied both German and English while in school, my youngest son is a student of  German and Russian, and I can mumble well enough in Czech, French, German and Russian to get myself into trouble. Often. My oldest son is fond of Latin and I’ve dabbled in it. Our TV is more often than not on the NHK Japanese satellite program. My son and I share music videos back and forth in German and Russian — and we regularly speak both languages between ourselves just for practice; my soccer teams provide plenty of chance to practice too with there easily being 7 or 8 languages spoken on the team.

I joined the Army at age 17 and by the time I retired from the Army I had spent more time overseas than in the U.S. Little of my life between the age of 19 and 38 were from living in these united states. Fate smiled kindly upon me and I finished my military career back in Virginia — where I live and work today, when I am not travelling.

After retiring from the Army I took my experiences and formed a company:, now in its 12th or so year of service to America in a different way.

My sport is soccer, aka futbol. I was never much good at playing the game but I fell in love with kicking a ball in the third grade when I met kickball. Then at the tender age of 19 I met a soccer ball in Germany and we’ve been best friends ever since.

Back in the late 1990s my son’s team needed a coach and I volunteered. It is not that I am a great coach or player — admittedly I didn’t have many coaching skills — but someone has to step forward. I’ve never had problems trying new things. I do not let not knowing what I am doing get in the way of trying new things, or setting new objectives to conquer. Overcoming underestimation has been very good to me.

My soccer playing days are long past, but along the way I’ve coached every age group between U7-U30, served as co-commissioner for soccer in the seven counties of northern Virginia, served on the board of directors for one of the largest soccer clubs in Virginia, and have shelves of trophies. In spring 2010 I even coached two U19 teams with both winning championships in their divisions.

When I’m not on the field or working – although work for me is not really work — I’m dabbling in politics or reading or genealogy or … my wife Yoko has never said that I should find a hobby.

Stay curious.