By Debbie Adams
Two new Vinton Police officers were presented to Town Council at its meeting on October 17 –
Officer Sean Patrick McKittrick and Officer Douglas Gene Aune, Jr. They were sworn in on
September 25, 2023.
Officer Andrew Hagy introduced McKittrick, saying, “Officer McKittrick as born in San
Marcelino, Philippines, and now resides in this area. He has one daughter, Camilla, who is the
center of his universe. Before joining the Vinton Police Department, Officer McKittrick served
the Roanoke City Police Department for 10 years. He is a graduate of Staunton River High
School and attends courses at Virginia Western Community College.
“Officer McKittrick is very passionate and has earned a reputation for being an excellent trainer,
especially a Field Training Officer. Many officers consider him to be quiet, humble, a great
friend, and an exceptional father.
“Officer McKittrick is a veteran of the United States Navy where he obtained the rank of Petty
Officer 3 rd Class. He then served as a 9780-Service Supply Handler. He is the recipient of the
National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Global
War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, to name a few.”
Lt. Scott Hurt introduced Officer Aune, who “was born in Trenton, Mich., and has served most
of his young life in the United States Armed Forces. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in
August 2003 and recently completed a 20-year career. He achieved the rank of E-7 and held the
primary specialty of Cryptologic Analyst and Reporter. In his career, Officer Aune was stationed
in various capacities such as the Surveillance and Warning Center Supervisor of the 324th
Intelligence Squadron at Hickman Air Force Base, Hawaii. He also served as the National
Security Agency (NSA) Representative to the National Military Command Center, Pentagon. He
served as the Planning, Exercise, and Training Manager of the Joint Special Operations
Command for the Department of Defense, the Department Chief for the 497 th Operations Support
Squadron, Langley Air Force Base, and the training and tactics subject matter expert for the 480 th
Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, Langley Air Force Base. He finished his
career as a Deputy Senior Enlisted Advisor and Section Chief, Joint Staff, Pentagon.
“In addition, Officer Aune also served as a search and rescue firefighter for the Abingdon
Volunteer Fire and Rescue and served the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy
sheriff. He is a graduate of the Community College of the Air Force, where he obtained his
Associate Degree in Communications Applications Technology. He also attended Ashford
University where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in social and criminal justice.
“He is also a certified canine (K-9) handler with an emphasis on explosives, firearms, tracking,
training, and patrol. He is very passionate about this certification and very proud of his canine
Demi. Aune and his wife Amy have three children.
Police Officer Jesse Dibble spoke to council about the upcoming Ruck March on Veterans Day,
sponsored by the Town of Vinton, the Vinton Police Department, Rosie’s Gaming Emporium,
and Queen City Rucking 22, which will benefit the Boulder Crest Foundation (BCF). Boulder
Crest is the home of Posttraumatic Growth (PTG). It offer slife-changing programs free of
charge to members of the military, veterans, and first responder communities and their families.
Vinton Police Chief Fabricio Drumond presented the quarterly police report for the months of
July through September 2023.
During the meeting, Vice Mayor Mike Stovall read a proclamation celebrating the 100 th
anniversary of the United Way of the Roanoke Valley. Since 1924, the organization has
generated over $232 million for programs in the region.
Council held a public hearing and then approved granting a lease to the Vinton Historical Society
for the Vinton History Museum at 210 East Jackson Avenue. The lease will run for eight months
from Nov. 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024, and then align on a fiscal year basis with four additional
one-year renewals expiring in 2028. The town will maintain HVAC, plumbing, and electrical
systems; provide routine exterior maintenance; and Public Works will provide routine grounds
maintenance. The Historical Society will provide funds for major improvements. Council was
briefed on the lease at an earlier meeting by Community Programs Director Chasity Barbour.
Council next passed a resolution authorizing Town Manager Pete Peters to execute a
performance agreement with Tacorita Inc.to redevelop the former Red Jasmine building into the
Tacorita Tacos & Tequila Bar restaurant. The town, in partnership with the Roanoke County
Economic Development Authority, will provide $25,000 over a one-year period to construct a
private lateral sewer connection, as the shared sewer connection was terminated during the
demolition of 206 S. Pollard Street due to damage that occurred during the July 2, 2022,
This performance agreement will redevelop a vacant building in Vinton’s downtown and help
revitalize the town’s main street, as well as generate meals tax revenue and create new jobs.
Sergio Arellano is the owner, a third generation restauranteur. His grandfather opened the first
Mexican restaurant in the Roanoke area and Arellano grew up in the Roanoke area. He will be
investing $100,000 in the 2,000-square-foot restaurant. Vice Mayor Stovall noted that while
there are other Mexican restaurants in Vinton, there is not one downtown. Tacorita Tacos will enhance the walkability in the downtown area. He also thanked Arellano for his patience throughout the aftermath of the fire.
Council also authorized the town manager to execute a contract with TRC Companies, Inc. (the
low bidder) for Environmental Consulting Services to assist with the administration of the
$500,000 Community-side Brownfields Assessment Grant the town applied for and has received
from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Two bids were received when the project was
TRC will assist with grant administration, conduct environmental assessments, prepare
conceptual site plans, establish marketing materials, and assist with coordination of the steering
Vinton Assistant Planning and Zoning Director Nathan McClung detailed the project and
process. He reminded council members that the town previously received a lesser grant of
$300,000 from the EPA which has been well-used in economic development projects in the town
which involved brownfield sites. Those include the Cleveland Mart project, the landfill, Steve’s
Garage, and the hotel site.
Potential uses for the new grant include Gish Mill, the downtown McClung industrial property,
and the downtown fire block sites.
Mayor Brad Grose described the grant as “a really big deal” and thanked the multiple town
departments who worked together to secure the grant.
Peters updated council on paving for the Walnut Avenue Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects and
paving next week at the Vinton Farmers’ Market. Schedules will be announced on the town’s
social media sites.
McClung shared topics covered in the October Community Development Committee meeting,
most of which were covered by actions taken in the Oct. 17 council meeting.
Finance Director Andrew Keen’s report from the Finance Committee indicates that Vinton
currently has $14 million in cash in operating and investment funds. The town’s high-interest-
bearing accounts diversified across three banks are earning $50,000 a month in interest.
Revenues from meals, sales, pari-mutuel, and cigarette taxes have been higher than expected.
The town continues to remain debt-free.