Len Wishart


I work in the residential construction industry for Albemarle Housing Improvement Program, a nonprofit, as an estimator rehabilitation specialist for Charlottesville and Albemarle County. We serve low to moderate income families to make improvements to their homes to help keep them safe, warm and dry.

Our energy improvements for insulation and HVAC upgrades increase the efficiency of our clients’ homes and reduce their utility bills. This directly improves the lives of our clients in addressing poverty and health. Additionally, our work helps to maintain the affordable housing stock. We use federal, state, local and private funding to perform emergency repairs, small rehabs, large rehabs, and we even build a few houses for families in homes that are too far gone to repair.

This is rewarding work with a direct impact on improving the life of families in need. One of the most important jobs that I worked on was to build a house for a disabled man who lived in a shed on top of a mountain with his dogs.

I also work as a musician and play in a couple bands around Charlottesville. I am a percussionist specializing in Latin rhythms and afro-beat.  I play with Baaba Seth, a jazz-funk world-beat reggae band with full horn section, guitars, bass and two percussionists. We just headlined Fridays after Five and our next gig is at IX park in Charlottesville on Oct. 14. Please come out and say hi!  Like us at https://www.facebook.com/baabaseth/.

Tell us about your family.

I am married to a wonderful wife and have two children who brighten all my days with laughter and love. One of my greatest joys is watching all of us grow more strongly together. We love to go canoeing and fishing; we play soccer and swim together often. I like sharing my love of gardening and the outdoors with them. We like to travel to Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and other places around the region. We have two small breed dogs and we “release the hounds” to drive the deer out of our fenced yard.

Tell us about a way you have changed over the years.

I have grown increasingly progressive and interested in our worldwide society. I am particularly distressed in how fundamentalism and literalism has increased hatred, violence and ignorance here and abroad.

What pivotal decision helped to shape your life?

Early in life I vowed to pursue interests in human potential, creative and constructive fields to help others and society.

Describe a dream you have for your future.

I see myself contributing to a society that takes care of everyone fairly with real justice and liberty that supersedes fringe interests or greedy corporate profiteering. I see a more conscious form of capitalism that supports an empowered citizenry living in safe housing with health care and the ability to have a rewarding livelihood that contributes to the happiness of everyone.

How do you describe Fluvanna to people who have never been here?

Fluvanna is the heart of Virginia, right in the middle of the Commonwealth. The people here are a nice blend of our American citizenry and the peaceful rural character of the county is unburdened by traffic lights, urban sprawl and industrial development. I am so proud of the accolades our high school has received, including its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification.  I look forward to steady conscious development here in Fluvanna for housing and commerce to increase the tax base so that our schools and government can continue to improve services for everyone and help the neediest, the disadvantaged and the vulnerable living here.

What prompted you to start a Lake Monticello Facebook group? Are you glad you did?

I started the group in August 2008 because there was not a Lake Monticello group on Facebook.  It took several years for a critical mass of members to join, and as Facebook has defined the social media landscape on the internet the group has become more self-sustaining. In other words, the members really create the page on a daily basis, using it to broadcast their interests, questions, concerns and opinions. I do not consider myself as an owner or even creator of this group. It has a life of its own. Some days I am glad the group is there. Other days I consider the nuclear option – the delete group button!

Tell us an interesting story about your life.
Once I had an antique rin gong from Japan with some old Japanese engraving on it. I found a man in Japan to translate this for me and found out that this gong was donated to an Asakusa temple in November 1777 by a prominent samuri, Mizuno Tadatomo, an official of the Tokugawa shogunate.

History fascinates me and is an important study that informs the present. Yet ignorance of history or the incorrect interpretation of it can reinforce great evil and injustice in society.

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