Mother, son remembered

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A mother and son died after floodwaters from Tropical Storm Michael overtook their vehicle.

Virginia State Police said Ruby S. Allen, 62, and her son, Ronnie Allen Jr., 36, of Eureka, were swept away in the flash flood over the bridge at Mt. Harmony Road in Keysville Thursday.

Police said Ronnie Allen’s 17-year-old son was the third occupant of the vehicle and was rescued by Charlotte County Sheriff’s Deputies.

The body of Ronnie Allen was found Friday, and Ruby was found Saturday after a community-wide search in the area occurred that involved approximately 120 people.

Police reported that a volunteer K9 rescue team recovered the remains of Ruby at approximately 11:30 a.m. Saturday, approximately a mile from where the vehicle she and two family members were riding in became stranded on a bridge along Mt. Harmony Road.

“I want to commend the incredible number of volunteers who came out to assist with the search efforts for Ms. Allen today,” Charlotte County Administrator Dan Witt said in a report from Virginia State Police. “We are thankful for the hard work and long hours put forth by our volunteer fire and EMS personnel, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. We keep the Allen family in our thoughts and prayers as they seek comfort and peace in the wake of this very tragic situation.”

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) reported a total of six storm-related deaths due to Tropical Storm Michael, including Ruby and Ronnie Allen.

STEPS Vice President Jessica Lehman said Ruby was a lead teacher with the Charlotte County Head Start Program.

Lehman said Ruby began teaching for Head Start when the program was run by Central Piedmont Action Council (CPAC) years ago.

“She was a valued member of the Head Start family for over 25 years,” Lehman said, who said she and Ruby only worked together for two and a half years.

Ruby worked in Prince Edward, Appomattox and most recently Charlotte County. She previously worked in child care on a military base in Germany.

Ruby started at Head Start as a teaching assistant and obtained a degree to become a Head Start Teacher.

“She loved the children, her co-workers, the community and her family,” Lehman said. “She had a unique ability to motivate others, always had a friendly smile to share and would be the first one to get your back if you needed her.”

“I can truly say she will be missed,” Lehman said.

Pauline Stokes with the Prince Edward County Cooperative Extension said she worked with Ruby in the Head Start program, collaborating on nutrition education for young students. Stokes described Ruby as a dedicated instructor who worked hard to meet her own standards, but treated her students gently and respectfully.

“Ruby was a very compassionate lady when dealing with the children,” Stokes said about Ruby’s teaching. “When I stepped into the classroom, they really respect her, and how she spoke to them was very touching. She didn’t have to say much to them.”

“You could tell that she loved her job,” Stokes said.