RB Anderson, Beloved and Mourned
Robert Bradford “RB” Anderson, Jr. passed into the arms of Jesus on April 24, 2017, after a brief illness. We at GraceInside celebrate with him and grieve for those of us left behind to mourn our loss. Certain RB is hearing, “Well done my good and faithful servant!” we await our reunion with anticipation. Until then, we hope.
You can read his obituary here.
RB was beloved by those he served at River North Correctional Center and at Bland Correctional Center. His passion for the men, his passion for Jesus Christ and his desire to serve combined to make him a force to be reckoned with and a pleasure to be around. RB’s heart was huge and we are so glad that he has been such a vital part of our GraceInside family. We will miss him terribly.
You can read the bio that graced our website for many years, below.
R.B. Anderson began at Bland Correctional Center Jan 1, 2017. Chaplain Anderson was the first chaplain at the new River North Correctional Center. Prior to prison chaplaincy, R.B. had several previous “careers” – serving in the U.S. Army (including tours in Vietnam and the Middle East) and then as the director of a residential treatment program for at-risk teens.
The minute you meet Chaplain RB Anderson, you’ve met a friend. A down to earth story teller, Chaplain Anderson’s history underscores his calling to growing people. A former member of the Special Forces, a green beret, during two tours in Vietnam, Chaplain Anderson was called upon to train and grow the young men in his charge. Working in human services, with a Master’s in Education, he also worked growing at risk and emotionally disturbed youth.
So when opportunity came knocking, in the form of a Gideon leader recruiting him for prison work, he was eager to begin volunteering. So eager to volunteer was he, that he showed up to the new prison, River North Correctional Center (a level 4 facility in Independence Virginia), with a resume’ in hand. “I was looking for some work. I wasn’t looking for a job.” Even the 1.25 hour commute one way did not deter his enthusiasm. In October of 2013, Chaplain Anderson began as a volunteer. On January 1, 2014, he began as a paid chaplain to the prison.
Chaplain Anderson’s wife says he is like a fish in water with the paramilitary correctional system.
He loves the sense of mission, purpose, and helping people. “What I am doing now is trying to equip the Saints, try to grow people up.” He shares a story, “A big ol’ fellow looked at me when we started the third service here. He said, “I want to talk to you.”
Chaplain Anderson asked, “What do you want to talk about.”
“I wants [sic] to do something.”
”What do you want to do?”
“I don’t know but I want to do something for the Lord.”
So he became an usher – and is now a lay-leader in their Fellowship Church – “Fellows in the same ship” Chaplain Anderson explains that to be a partner you need a part – a meaningful part for people where they can grow.
When not working, Chaplain Anderson has the beloved title, “Grandbo – an over the hill Rambo” and proudly enjoys six grandbabies. Those children keep him running! Really. Chaplain Anderson is also an avid runner. Currently on the injured list, he has won some 5Ks in the “over 65 division.” “As a Special Forces guy, you try to keep in shape.”
Perhaps that is why he used to own a grass fed business focusing on organic farming with cattle, chickens and ducks. They made maple syrup and gardened berries to sell to famers markets. However, the chaplaincy position at River North demands so much time, something had to go – so his son is helping with the sustainable farming on the side.
Chaplain Anderson also keeps his mind sharp, listening to audio books on the lengthy commute. Body, mind and spirit, Chaplain Anderson keeps things moving forward, growing in every way you can imagine. And, that’s just how he likes it!