By: Pat Winter
Sometimes it takes several months to connect with newcomers and find just the right time to be able to sit down together and chat. Rhonda and I had exchanged more than a few emails before we set a firm date. But little did I know this would be a first for me as an inter-viewer…Rhonda and Danny are the first newcomers I have interviewed who are Perquimans County natives and have lived here their entire lives!
Danny is a truck broker, the owner and operator of Albemarle Trucking, which specializes in hauling agriculturally based products from northeast North Carolina to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Lower Hudson Valley area of New York, or any destination east of the Mississippi River. In the 3,500 truckloads that Danny oversees in a year, there will be fertilizer, feed-grade material, mulch, sweet potatoes, and green beans making their way across our highways, trips orchestrated by Danny’s expertise in getting goods when and where they are needed.
Here in Perquimans County in 1889, Danny’s great-grandfather was a blacksmith who by 1913 had patented seven versions of a horse drawn plow. His grandfather, Johnnie Gregory, started a truck body business in Elizabeth City, building trailers shaped especially for the agricultural products they were transporting. Danny worked in his father’s business along with his three brothers until 1995 when he went out on his own to start Albemarle Trucking. Danny has also used his ability to haul large quantities of materials to provide humanitarian relief supplies to the Gulf states after hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, and Ian.
Rhonda grew up near Camp Cale on the Perquimans River, and at age 14 rode her bicycle from her family farm to wash dishes for the Camp Kale kitchen. Her father, also a cabinet maker, had a workshop located right on the farm. After high school, Rhonda went to the College of the Albemarle, followed by a year at Oral Roberts University before returning home to graduate from Elizabeth City State University. Today Rhonda can proudly attest she was the first accounting graduate form ECSU to become a CPA.