Building a better Beaufort County

Published 2:37 pm Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Randy and Carolyn Walker know something about building. After all, they’re in the business.

The couple’s downtown home-improvement store, G.W. Walker and Sons, has served Washington for more than 60 years, providing flooring, windows, doors and more.

The business was recently honored for building a better Beaufort County, with an award by the same name, for the recovery and restoration of its downtown building following Hurricane Irene.

The storm was particularly rough on G.W. Walker and Sons, peeling the roof off the West Main Street building like the lid off a tin can.

Standing in water on their showroom floor and looking up through a gaping hole at open sky, the Walkers had some tough decisions to make two years ago.

Just last week, they accepted the honor from the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce. They stood on beautifully restored original pine floors with an equally impressive pressed tin ceiling overhead. Both features are more than 100 years old and shine with a luster unique to the historic buildings downtown.

G.W. Walker and Sons is certainly deserving of the award, given by the chamber’s Ambassador Committee to people and businesses for their “commitment to beautifying our community, providing cultural development, and having a positive economic impact in Beaufort County.”

But, the Walkers are quick to spread credit to family, friends, neighbors and customers, who they say provided the love and support necessary to get them where they are today.

A group of Washington High School football players stood in matching shirts at the award celebration. The young men rushed to assist the recovery efforts at G.W. Walker and Sons immediately following the storm.

As Randy and Carolyn Walker are quick to point out, building a better Beaufort County is truly a community effort.

Ashley Vansant is publisher of the Washington Daily News. He can be reached at