By Debbie Adams
Susan Johnson, Vinton’s Town Clerk and Executive Assistant, is retiring effective Feb. 1 after serving the town for 11 and a half years. Town Council, current and previous town staff, friends, and family honored her with a reception at the Municipal Building prior to the council meeting on Jan. 17.
Johnson was also recognized during the council meeting—her final one–by those she had worked with through the years with a plaque, heartfelt applause, and a standing ovation.
Mayor Brad Grose thanked Johnson for “your professionalism, your creativity, your hard work, and your interest in supporting your fellow staff members and the entire Town of Vinton. I believe when we hired you, we got the whole package, a consummate professional and someone who cared for our community.
“All the things I have mentioned are important, but without a doubt, the way you have always represented your faith and have consistently conducted yourself as a true Christian lady means much more to me than anything else,” Grose said. “We have often shared personal triumphs and challenges, and we have often prayed for each other and our families.”
Vice Mayor Mike Stovall called Johnson a “true champion, who possesses a wealth of knowledge, and has done remarkable work.”
Johnson’s daughter Cora Beth spoke for the family in praising her mother’s work ethic, for “putting everything into her job,” and for the blessing she has been to others.
Town Manager Pete Peters said that Johnson has been “immeasurably valuable in her position,” keeping him and other staff members on track, day in and day out.
Johnson has had a long career in municipal government and in the field of law. She came to the town on July 27, 2011, after serving as Administrative Office Associate, then Executive Services Coordinator/Clerk for the City of Martinsville. She also spent 17 years with a private law firm in Martinsville, and four years with the City of Roanoke Attorney’s office.
She says her first visit to Vinton was in 1976 when she marched in the Dogwood Festival Parade with the John D. Bassett High School band.
She was surrounded by her family at the reception and council meeting—husband Donnie who is retired from the City of Salem, her daughter Cora Beth Akers, son-in-law Curtis Akers, and her grandsons Klayton and Harrison. Her first priority in her retirement will be to spend more time with all of them.
Johnson and her family are active members of Mill Creek Baptist Church. In her remarks to council and town staff, Johnson said that she thanks God for giving her the opportunity to serve others through her career, for blessing her with a servant’s heart. She acknowledged her family and the support they have been for her. She credited her parents with teaching her a strong work ethic.
Johnson thanked Mayor Grose and all the town councils she has worked with and town staff for supporting her, for caring about their community, and for becoming a “second family.”
“It’s been a pleasure to be part of the team,” Johnson said. “These 11 and a half years in Vinton have been the highlight of my career.”