By Debbie Adams
The Vinton Police Department has unveiled an eye-catching, attention-getting, newly decorated
Military Appreciation patrol vehicle as a salute to veterans.
“The Military Appreciation patrol vehicle was designed by Officer J. Dibble, a military veteran
who is now a part of our police department,” said Vinton Police Chief Fabricio Drumond.
“Officer Dibble also runs a non-profit organization that directly benefits military service
members with the struggles of mental health and suicide.
“Our car proudly displays the High Ground Veterans Monument, a monument that honors past
and current Vinton and Roanoke County service members and those who paid the ultimate
sacrifice. Our car also pays tribute to all of our military service members, a constant reminder of
the men and women serving around the world. That image is wrapped with our nation’s flag and
the skin of a military aircraft.
“Our focus was on designing a vehicle that our community will be proud of, but it was essential
to highlight one crucial part of the design – the mental health of our service members. On the
rear of our vehicle, we posted the graphics of the Veterans Crisis Line. We are forever in debt to
the many Americans who join our Armed Forces. As Americans, we proudly and patriotically
salute every service member of every generation. Our military men and women put it all on the
line, and oftentimes, when their tour of duty ends, a struggle can begin. Our nation is a one-of-a-
kind union with enormously diverse cultural customs with more unique characteristics than any
other country in the world. It is the many qualities of every American that shape our nation. It is
our military service members that protect those characteristics and the sovereignty of our nation.
We want our vehicle to be a reminder that their service matters, and that they matter.”
The Military Appreciation vehicle is not a new vehicle for the department, but part of the fleet. It
was wrapped by Sun Solutions of Vinton, owned by Jeff Belcher.
While one side of the vehicle features the High Ground Monument, the other displays military
personnel in silhouette surrounded by an American flag with stars charging forward. Officer
Dibble says the OD military green powder color was chosen for the vehicle specifically to honor
members of the armed services and to resemble a World War II fighter plane, rivets and all. The
windows are part of the design; you can see out, but not in.
The rear of the vehicle displays the contact information for the Veterans Crisis Line—“Dial 988,
then press 1.” The crisis line provides confidential support 24/7/365 days a year to veterans,
service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and those who support them.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, supported by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
It also displays emblems for all branches of military service—the United States Navy, the United
States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the Dept. of the Air Force, and the United States
Coast Guard. There is a Vinton Police Dept. seal on both sides of the vehicle and Town of
Vinton decals on both sides.
Anyone who comes from, lives in, or visits Vinton knows how much reverence its citizens feel
for the military and especially for Veterans– with the Vinton War Memorial built to honor World
War II veterans, the High Ground Monument built to honor all who serve or have served, special
observances for Veterans’ Day, the establishment of the Navy Cadet Corps at William Byrd
High School, and flag planting at the cemetery by local scout troops on Veterans Day and
Memorial Day. The new Military Appreciation vehicle is one more reminder of those who have
“always stepped forward to answer the nation’s call.”
Vinton’s Human Resources and Risk Management Director Donna Collins is working with other
staff members on another project honoring veterans inside the Municipal Building on Pollard
Street. A Veterans’ Wall is in the works honoring those who have served the country, including
plaques and flags of the different branches of the service.
She would like to add names of local veterans and military personnel to the interior wall and
seeks assistance from the public in doing so.
If you, or a family member, have served or currently serve and live or have lived in Vinton, and
would like to participate, please send the service member’s name, rank, date of service and
branch of service to Collins, by Oct. 10, if possible. Mail the information to Donna Collins, 311
South Pollard Street, Vinton, 24179 or email the information to her at email@example.com.
(There is no charge to participate in this project.)