Ferrum College senior and National Guard Member Demontay Wimbush ’21 is spending the final semester of his college career preparing to mobilize stateside in November. From there, in January 2022, he will deploy to Africa where he’ll be stationed for nine months.
“Luckily, all of my wonderful professors are working with me to finish early, before I deploy,” said Wimbush. He doesn’t yet know what his job duties will be in Africa.
On August 21, 2021, Wimbush married his high school sweetheart Kyra, who recently graduated from Averett University. The couple resides in Bassett, VA. As expected, Kyra isn’t looking forward to Wimbush’s deployment, but is supportive of his endeavors.
This isn’t Wimbush’s first experience with deployment. After the events at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, he was deployed to Washington, D.C. to help with security. “I stood in front of the Capitol building for twelve hours a day for a month,” explained Wimbush. He completed the beginning of the spring 2021 semester remotely while also fulfilling his guard duties.
As history major, Wimbush also worked as a McBroom Scholar at the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum (BRIM) over the summer. His job included giving tours of the farm museum while wearing wool interpreter’s clothing and working over a blacksmith’s fire in the summer heat.
“From the very first day, he fit right in with the staff and was incredibly enthusiastic about having this opportunity,” said BRIM Director Bethany Worley. “He was always looking for something new to learn, either in the museum or at the 1800’s farm.”
Associate Professor of History Tim Daniels, who is also Wimbush’s advisor, remembered taking a group of PAWS students to the farm museum in July, where he found Wimbush weeding the garden. “He hopped up and gave us an impromptu tour, immediately engaging the students by drawing them into what life would have been like at a farm inhabited by immigrants to his area,” explained Daniels. See Wimbush in action in these Flickr album photos submitted by Daniels.
As a McBroom Scholar, Wimbush learned blacksmithing techniques from local Franklin County resident Bill “Spook” Parcell, along with gardening and farming. He said that his experience at the BRIM’s farm allowed him to appreciate the preservation of Blue Ridge history.
Wimbush is also the first Ferrum College intern at the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Bedford County, VA. Daniels explained Wimbush’s duties: “There, he builds on what he honed at the BRIM, doing interpretation, manning the store, helping out in the garden and with animals, and developing educational materials that compliment the exhibitions and site.”
Researching and learning through history has always been Wimbush’s passion. “I enjoyed history during grade school,” he said. “My desire to seek the truth has allowed me to fall even more in love with my history major at Ferrum.”
Worley knows Wimbush is destined for great things, and said, “Demontay is just an extraordinary young man. His life experiences, combined with his education and his wonderful personality, set him apart from many people. I have no doubt that Demontay will make an impact in this world.”