By Debbie Adams
Doug Adams served the Vinton community in many, many ways for many, many years. He was literally a lifesaver for the town, serving on the Vinton First Aid Crew for over 49 years, in just about every position possible. He served on Vinton Town Council and was a dedicated member of the Vinton Breakfast Lions Club, and a founding member of the Vinton Needy Family Program.
Adams passed away on January 22 at age 70. He lost his wife Brenda just five months ago in August 2019. They were married for 49 years.
He is survived by his daughter Donna Phillips and her husband Buck, and his son Mike Adams and his wife Tiffany. He was the proud grandfather of Autumn, Michael Douglas, Jeremy, and Blake, and great-granddaughter Alex.
He grew up nearby in Roanoke in the Eastgate area and moved to Vinton in 1971 when he married Brenda Reynolds.
Adams was prompted in part to join the First Aid Crew by a desire to learn to assist his mother, who suffered from respiratory illnesses and sometimes needed to call the squad. He trained to become an EMT and eventually advanced to become chief.
“I joined the First Aid Crew when we settled in Vinton and I knew there was nowhere else I wanted to go,” Doug said when running for Town Council. “I could have moved many places across the country with my job over the years. I traveled a lot with my job, but I always wanted to stay in Vinton. I like the people here, the small-town atmosphere, and Vinton’s proud heritage,” he said.
He spent his professional career of 43 years with Dayco Products, an automotive parts manufacturer. He retired as their regional sales supervisor for the entire East Coast, supervising multi-million-dollar national and local accounts and managing sales and service personnel.
Adams served on Vinton Town Council for four years, elected in 2012. During his time in office much was accomplished with construction and opening of the Vinton Branch Library, renovations to the downtown area through the Community Development Block Grant, the opening of the HIVE business incubator, contracts signed for renovations to Roland E. Cook Elementary and the old William Byrd High School, greenway improvements, and countless other projects.
He served with expertise as an advocate for the interests of public safety during his time on council, working for improvements and advances for first aid, fire, and law enforcement departments and personnel.
One of his most passionate interests was the Vinton Needy Family Program. Each Christmas he and a host of volunteers raised money for the project and shopped for disadvantaged children in the area, delivering gifts and a holiday meal by way of a parade of emergency vehicles, a fire truck, and Santa.
The Rev. Dr. Chris Monroe of Vinton Baptist officiated at the funeral service. He commented that Doug was the embodiment of 1 Peter 4:10– “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others.”
He shared that Doug’s family say that he and his wife were wonderful providers for the family, giving them “everything we needed and most of what we wanted.”
Several of his friends and colleagues were asked to speak at the funeral service: Mayor Brad Grose, Vinton First Aid Crew Chief Wayne Guffey, First Aid Crew Chaplain Tom Philpott, and Hal Mabe from the Vinton Breakfast Lions Club.
“Doug Adams will long be remembered in the Town of Vinton with sincere love and deep gratitude,” said Mayor Grose. “His contributions to Vinton are beyond measure.
“Doug was a team player on council, although he always expressed his opinion,” Grose continued. “He was always ready to help people and he seemed to have a knack for finding special opportunities. He was that special kind of person who was liked by everyone. Perhaps that is because he had a special love for people and a desire to help people. I’m sure that’s why he ran for council— to help people. His demeanor, gentlemanly approach, and love for the people of this community made him a great councilman. He was the type of person you need to build a great community. He was the kind of man that you were proud to call friend.”
Philpott called Doug a “true friend who really cared about you. He was not afraid to call you out when he thought you were wrong, but he was always a gentleman.”
Mabe talked about Doug’s passion for service. He was the embodiment of the Lions Club motto, “We Serve.” He was “a do-er.” Doug served as past president of the Breakfast Lions and as secretary. He was Lion of the Year in 2015 and “could have won it every year.” He received the Lions highest honor— the Melvin Jones Award in 2016. Mabe encouraged those present to get more involved in the community “in memory and honor of Doug.”
“I had the privilege to meet Doug in August 1985 when I joined the Vinton First Aid Crew as a volunteer,” said Chief Guffey. “I will always remember his laugh as well as his kindness. Doug was always supportive and encouraging of me. This was exactly how Doug was with everyone on the crew and a main reason the Vinton First Aid Crew has stood strong for so many years.
“Doug’s leadership on the crew could be felt at every level where he faithfully served for almost 49 years,” Guffey said. “He did everything. Some of his most significant support came in the form of service in the office of the treasurer where he prepared the crew’s annual budget, maintained monthly records, and managed audits. Doug was also a sounding board. He loved a good discussion. He was the voice of reason and our parliamentarian. He helped keep order. He did not stay quiet when he felt something was being said or done that would harm the crew or its reputation.
“Doug was an example for all of us for how neighbors should help neighbors,” Guffey said. “Doug also had a very playful side. Doug taught me how to play poker– I don’t think he taught me everything because I lost a lot. In tribute to Doug, no member will ever have the radio number 2511 again.”
“I was privileged to serve alongside him for years,” says former Vice Mayor Matt Hare. “Always respectful and honest, I never doubted his commitment and love for our community. His sacrifice for our community was always an inspiration for me. He treated all of Vinton as family.”
When Adams left council, Hare commented that “when you look at Doug Adams, you see what a true servant’s heart looks like. He has a love and passion for this community. Thank you for looking out for me and my family on the First Aid Crew before I even knew you.”
“Doug showed his unending love for Vinton through his decades of service to it,” said former Vice Mayor Wes Nance. “Whether it was through the Lions Club, the Rescue Squad, Town Council, or the myriad of other activities, Doug gave back daily to the town that he loved.
“I was fortunate to work alongside Doug on Vinton Town Council, and even if we disagreed on an issue, it was done with civility, friendship, and the shared goal of simply doing the right thing for the community,” Nance said. “Doug will be severely missed, but his impact on Vinton will last for generations and generations. He was truly a servant leader, gentleman, and family man. What an excellent legacy to be defined by.”