NC Announced PCB Landfill
On December 20, 1978, the state of North Carolina announced its intention to bury 60,000 tons of PCB-contaminated soil in a landfill in Afton, Warren County. Ken and Deborah Ferruccio did what most people do when their persons and properties are threatened. They plunged headlong into the fray because they found themselves on a battlefield, in survival mode. Flight for them was not an option for several reasons, the first being that they had just chosen to make a log cabin in the woods of Afton their home. It was their refuge, and they were not about to be moved by anyone, not even the state. They were driving in stakes and putting down roots. Other people might have moved, but not the Ferruccios. Of course, they had no idea at the time what that stand would really cost them.
Move to the South
The previous year, 1977, Ken and Deborah had moved to the rural South during a severe winter and an energy crisis that was crippling parts of the nation and that temporarily closed the Columbus, Ohio, Public Schools, forcing Deborah to be laid off her English teaching position. Both of them were teachers and were now jobless, so they decided to make Deborah’s lay-off become an opportunity for change. They decided that they wanted to live where it wasn’t so cold, in the country, in nature, and to become more self-reliant. They wanted to grow a garden and live a quiet, aesthetic, healthy, unassuming life connected to land and the people around them. They wanted to start a family, eventually.
Outer Banks to Warren County
Ken and Deborah had learned about Warren County quite by coincidence, or, looking back, perhaps by providence. For years, Deborah’s family had visited the North Carolina Outer Banks, and she and Ken had made the trip an annual pilgrimage. There they met Laura Bennie and Charlie Davis who later invited them to stay in their hometown of Warrenton until they found a place of their own. The extended Davis family welcomed the Ferruccios as members of their clan, and they all bonded while sharing home-cooked meals, making music, and riding horses. Neighbors and many Warren County residents quickly became friends and family.