by Aaron Layman
Much change has swept through Vinton in the past four years. Longtime Police Chief Herb Cooley retired, the Vinton-Roanoke County Veterans Monument was unveiled last summer and the town recently bought land and began to plan for a new downtown library. With spring elections coming up, the administrative makeup of the town could also change. Doug Adams, who ran unsuccessfully in 2008 during a five-way race for two council seats, will challenge incumbents Carolyn Fidler and Wes Nance for those same council seats on May 1.
Fidler, who has served on the council for eight years, was a longtime legislative aide to former Delegate Richard Cranwell. Nance currently serves as assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Bedford County. Adams, who works as a regional sales manager for automotive parts manufacturer Dayco Products, is familiar to many in the town as a 42-year-member of the Vinton First Aid Crew.
“I’ve held most every office there is in the organization,” he chuckles. That includes 10 years total as rescue squad chief, along with serving as treasurer, equipment lieutenant and president. Currently, Adams is vice president to the crew’s board. He says that serving mostly in a support capacity now has freed up his time, allowing him to“offer some of my expertise to the town.”
For the past 15 years, Adams says that he has usually taken on the duty of drawing up the budget for the crew as well. Adams claims experience with working with reduced funding, pointing out that money from the town has been tougher to come by recently due to the construction of the Vinton Public Safety Building in 2008. Even with these pressures, though, he says that he worked with the state to obtain a grant for a new ambulance. All of these experiences says Adams would come in handy on Town Council.
The First Aid Crew is not his sole contact with serving the community. As part of the crew, Adams is the founding president of the Vinton Needy Family Program, which provides children with toys, clothes and a meal around Christmas time. He also works with the Roanoke County government as Vinton’s representative to the Metropolitan Planning Organization and is part of the Vinton Highway Safety Commission.
Boosting Vinton business is one of his main concerns. Adams says that aggressive marketing is key to bringing people to the town’s businesses: “We’re not far; we’re on the way to the lake.” As a member of Town Council, he’d also work to better explain county and federal regulations to local businesses. He also would like to increase marketing of available tracts at the Vinton Business Park (home to Cardinal Glass and a joint project with Roanoke County) and other available land in the town, perhaps through a published list of available sites.
Regarding the land that Vinton recently bought in partnership with Roanoke County for a new Vinton library branch (the former Dunman’s wholesale floral warehouse site), Adams says he would like to see it be used to “[help] bring more people downtown,” along with new businesses.
Decades of service with the Vinton First Aid Crew has made Adams a big proponent of volunteerism in the town, with the fire/rescue departments and other organizations. Saying that they “save the town a ton” in expenses, he also says they should be supported more and recognized. He also recommends that there be a clearinghouse between the fire department, EMS and police, to further aid communication.
Approachability of town government is another area Adams wants to bolster. He’d support the creation of a “blue-ribbon committee” where town citizens could air their concerns and requests before progressing to council. “It can be intimidating to come before town council,” Adams says.
Looking back on his 2008 campaign, Adams claims that he “didn’t put [his] heart into it” but he has grown significantly and learned much, particularly through the building of the new fire/EMS center. He aims to use this new understanding, along with what he says is a “good head for business,” hoping to add his voice to Town Council, where Mayor Brad Grose is also running again, unopposed. “We have a good town government but I think I’ve got the experience and knowledge – I can add a different view.”