TAZEWELL, VA (WVNS)–Did you know one of the beloved staples of Tazewell County was created by a veteran?
The Back of the Dragon Welcome Center is a destination for riding enthusiasts – 32 miles of winding curves and unparalleled excitement.
And a labor of love of a local veteran who wanted to continue to serve his country.
Larry Davidson, the Founder, is a retired E-8 Master Sergeant. He served in the Vietnam era and even flew Presidential Support for President Nixon. And while this stretch of road is a world away from the jungles of Vietnam, Davison saw a new battlefront to tackle here. A commercial one.
Davidson said he set out with 12 shirts and a mission to sell his business idea.
“I say this only in America can you go and so I rode on the road and talked to motorcyclists, and I sold all 12 of the t-shirts and I thought well from a standpoint of entrepreneurship we may have something here,” Davidson said.
He brought in his daughter Beth and son-in-law Justin Takach to become the brewer for the Welcome Center.
Takach served as a Sergeant 1st class in the U.S. Army. He went on five deployments and spent time in Iraq where he was medically discharged.
Takach at first learned of brewing from a master brewer in Wytheville. He said now he can brew on his own and create his own tasty cocktails.
“My favorite part of the entire job or experience is having something on tap that I made and watching people pour it and that smile go across their face or I like to interact with people,” Takach said.
When Davidson came back to the states, he worked as a coal miner but decided his calling was still in serving his country. He went back to work as a combat engineer in the first infantry division.
Davidson said those were some of the best moments of his life.
“I really enjoyed that part and miss that part. I miss the comradery, I miss the people I worked with and to me, that was the honor within itself,” Davidson said.
Takach said there was no better time than the present to get this welcome center up and running.
“It’s been a blessing not only to our family, but I believe the community and Tazewell County, Southwest Virginia as a whole, thanks to this guy,” Takach said.