A conversation with … Laura Beth Parnell

September 22, 2013

Name: Laura Beth King Parnell

Family Members: Husband, Brian; children, Cheyenne and Cody Parnell; parents, Cecil and Tina King; brother, James Hoover; extended family members, Ricky Long and Bobby Jones; in-laws, Bernie and Teresa Parnell; brother-in-law, Brad Parnell; and nephew, Harper Parnell.

Occupation and why you selected it: I guess I have several. First, Brian and I are Residential Support Providers for Wall Residences. We’re privileged to provide support in our home to two incredible men. In the early ninety’s when my aunt Betty (who had an intellectual disability) decided she wanted to move out of her family’s home, she was horrified to find that her only choices were group homes or other facilities where she would have to live with people she didn’t know or choose to live with. My dad helped her come up with another solution that allowed her to live as independently and with as much autonomy as possible. So, when I learned that Wall Residences and other agencies were doing this, it was a no-brainer for me to want to be a part of it. I also am a Therapeutic Options (Behavioral Support & Management Skills) instructor for Wall Residences. My newest occupation is the owner (along with my husband Brian) of Parnell’s Driving Range. We wanted to bring something fun to Hillsville and Brian loves golf so…we decided to build a driving range!

Where are you from originally? Pulaski County

What clubs, groups, church and community organizations do you belong? Carroll County Farm Bureau Young Farmers Committee Member, Southwest Regional Enterprise Center Board Member, Hillsville July 4th Parade & Events Committee, Hillsville Fall Festival (2014) Planning Committee.

Education: Carroll County High School; Virginia Tech, Radford University (Social Work)

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing what you do now and why? I’ve got tons of dream jobs and they change all the time, but if I have to narrow it down I’d say either a writer for a newspaper or magazine, or an event planner.

What is the best part of your job? The people I work with have had so many obstacles in their lives and not a single time have I ever heard them complain about any of them or feel sorry for themselves; instead they constantly find joy in everything, no matter how small. It’s amazing.

What is the least favorite part of your job? Without a doubt the paperwork!

What is something most people don’t know about you? I recently discovered that my ancestors are from Carroll County, so it’s no wonder that I’ve always felt at home here! To make things more interesting, my Carroll County ancestors are none other than the Dalton family which also happen to be my husband’s family. Oh yes, it turns out we have the same sixth great-grandfather. Oh, and something else you may not know - I have a llama named Lester.

Favorite food: Brian’s Aunt Evelyn’s meatloaf

Favorite writer and/or book: There’s no way I could choose one! I didn’t have a television until I was 19 so reading has always been one of my favorite things. The best fiction books I’ve read recently have been by Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, etc.).

Favorite music and/or performer: Railroad Earth, The Avett Brothers, The Band. And…I love 90’s music very, very much. Nobody ever lets me to be in charge of the music.

Share your favorite memory in your life to date: Definitely Election Day (11/7) 2006 -Brian and I were eating breakfast and he said, “Let’s get married today!” So that’s exactly what we did. We went to the Carroll County courthouse and didn’t tell anyone until we had sealed the deal. Well, that’s not entirely true, we were so broke that we had to ask my parents borrow money to pay for our marriage license and wedding rings. Afterwards, we went to Applebee’s, with my parents of course! Haha - Thanks mom and dad! It may not have been the glamorous wedding I pictured when I was younger, but it sure did make me happier than I ever thought I could be.

Name something you find very irritating and why: Negative people! Negative thinking tends to lead to negative outcomes.

What is the best advice you were ever given and who gave it? The examples that my parents have set for me just by the way they live their lives are better than any advice I’ve ever been given. I think the best specific advice my parents gave me was to be honest with myself about what responsibility or blame that I have in things I complain about or am upset about. “There are two sides to every story” and they encouraged me to try to consider the validity of both sides. Also, when I’m feeling lazy or want to give up on something important I think about something my dad (somewhat jokingly) says - “Second place is the first loser!”

What else would you like the people of Carroll County to know about you? Almost every good thing that has happened in my life has happened as a result of Harold Golding letting me come to Carroll County High School in 1999 (I lived in Pulaski County). I love our county and our town and I feel so lucky to be able to call it home.