Pastor Rick Dawson
Rick is a recent widower. He has two grown, married children and a granddaughter by his wife Sara's former marriage. All live in the Northern Virginia area and frequently gather as a family.
He was born in Detroit, Michigan. His family moved to Arizona where he spent much of his early years. He was a member of the Boy Scouts attaining the rank of Eagle Scout with palms, after which he transferred to the Explorer program and attained the rank of Silver Award.
Rick joined the Marine Corps following graduation from high school and rose to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant before being selected for the warrant officer program and eventually retiring at the rank of captain after twenty-three years of service. Rick served his enlisted time as an infantryman and small unit leader and transferred to Law Enforcement when he became an officer. After the Marine Corps, Rick joined the Pinkerton Detective Agency and served various positions before becoming a regional manager.
Following the sale of Pinkerton to another Agency, Rick partnered with another detective to manage the Virginia office of Paragon Investigations.
During 1995, Rick met and married his wife and soon after decided to leave the investigation field and become semi-retired. He took a part-time position as registrar at Camp Highroad, a United Methodist Camp that was experiencing decline.
During his short tenure as registrar the camp required a change of leadership and Rick was asked to take the position of Camp Director. Under his direction and God’s grace the camp has flourished and become a leading camp and retreat facility in the Methodist camp network.
It was at Camp Highroad that Rick saw what God was doing in changing the lives of youth who attended the summer camp program as well as in his own life. Rick was a Certified Lay Speaker and had brought the message to many congregations in the Arlington and Alexandria Districts of the Virginia Conferences as well as teaching various courses to new lay speakers. Taking the responsibility of being the spiritual leader was a natural next step and he soon felt the call to pastoral ministry.
Rick became a Licensed Local Pastor on 1 July 2010 and served the camp as both the Camp Director and Chaplain. During 2012, Rick reached the mandatory retirement age for clergy of 72 and was told that he could continue as a retired pastor but not at the same location that he retired from. Rick was than appointed as Associate Pastor at Arcola U.M.C. a position he still officially holds today.
During 2014, Rick decided that the daily demands on the Camp Director could be better served by a younger man and so he was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer to act as the paid professional on the Board of Directors and to oversee the financial business of the camp. He continues to be the chaplain and speaks daily during the camping season.
During 2016, discussions between the District Superintendents of the Winchester and Arlington Districts caused the formation of the Aldie/Arcola Cooperative Parrish. Pastor Rick was assigned to Aldie U.M.C. by the presiding elder of the Aldie/Arcola charge on 1 July 2016, an assignment he willingly volunteered for.
Soon after starting at Aldie U.M.C., Sara’s condition (Supra Nuclear Palsy) became worse and she required constant care. Pastor Rick was able to obtain health aides to be with Sara during the day and he took care of her at night. On July 28, 2018 Pastor Rick said farewell to his bride, Sara Dawson, and she is now lying in God’s loving arms. Pastor Rick recently retired from Camp Highroad and plans to continue at Aldie U.M.C., God willing, for the foreseeable future.
Worship in the Village