#BorneTheBattle 136: Valroy Williams – Queens, New York Submariner to North Carolina Farmer


There are two environments the Iskra family grew up in – logging and farming. Before I left for boot camp, I grew up around my grandparents’ farms in Washington state. Valroy Williams grew up in Queens, New York. Before I was strong enough to lift hay bales, I would run along the trucks and knock over the bales to make them easier for the adults to throw them on the trucks. For Valroy, there’s not a hay bale for miles near Hollis, Queens.

Somehow, somewhere, Valroy and I switched places.To this day, my favorite place in the whole world is at my grandpa’s spread in Washington state. Nothing beats waking up, having a cup of coffee, looking down the hill at the Humptulips River, and enjoying the sound of complete silence. Now, I’m in the middle of the DC grind and Valroy is grinding out a living on his own farm.

IMAGE: Valroy Williams' farm

In 2018, Valroy Williams opened Beyond Worth Farm in Red Springs, NC.

So, how does a Navy submariner from Hollis, Queens, New York, become a farmer in North Carolina? That is exactly what episode 136 is about. After over 30 years of dedication between the Navy and Army, Valroy Williams opened Beyond Worth Farm in Red Springs, NC. His farm produced beef, poultry, eggs, and goats, plums and a variety of other things that he plants into the ground. Valroy doesn’t advertise and gets his business complete from word of mouth.

In this episode we talked about his service, how he learned to farm and the camaraderie of the Veteran farmers in his region.



This story fascinates me for two reasons:

  1. I grew up right next to my grandpa’s farm and I miss aspects of the farming lifestyle.
  2. I feel like I flipped environments with Valroy.



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Tanner Iskra

Tanner Iskra has been a video producer for the VA’s Digital Media Engagement team since October of 2018. He is a Marine Corps Veteran, having served as a Combat Videographer. During his military career, he deployed to Iraq in 2005 as well as to Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Germany, France and Spain as part of the Black Sea Rotational Force. Tanner is a graduate of the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies and holds a Certificate in Military Motion Media from the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse University.


  1. Richard Jordan    

    Very good podcast of Val Williams intro into the business of farming. Incredible how a Long Island man can serve all those years in the Navy and totally change his field into farming and seems to be enjoying it an more importantly making a go of it.
    Thanks, Rich Jordan

  2. Joseph F Moll    

    What is the latest update on VA Appeals and open claims on Agent Orange?

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