Since 2014, ALCOVA Mortgage has recognized veterans for not only their service in the military, but also their service to the community, and this month the honor goes to Timberville Mayor Don DeLaughter.
DeLaughter was awarded the Hometown Hero Award at the Timberville Christmas Village on Saturday, where he received a plaque and a $500 check.
“It’s very humbling,” DeLaughter said. “As a veteran, you don’t do things to be honored. You do things just to do them.”
DeLaughter served in the U.S. Army from 1983-87, earning the rank of sergeant as an 82nd Airborne paratrooper, according to a press release. He then served two years in the Army National Guard.
With his military career behind him, DeLaughter spent the next 32 years working for Alcoa, an aluminum producer based in Pennsylvania, eventually retiring as a business manager in 2013.
While working for Alcoa, DeLaughter also served on the Timberville Town Council as a council member from 2001 to 2004 until being elected as mayor, which he has served since.
Upon retirement from Alcoa, DeLaughter said he took one week off before accepting a position with the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff. He served for six years, with five years as bailiff, and retired from the sheriff’s department in September.
DeLaughter said it was a learning curve at first while he worked in multiple departments, but it got easier with the help of town staff.
“We have a very good staff here,” he said.
In a press release, Natalie Sherlock, with the Community Art Recreation of Timberville, said DeLaughter has been instrumental in working through the process of securing land from the local American Legion Post for a new park named American Legion Park. The park contains memorials to honor those from the area who have served in the military.
“Don has dedicated much time and energy to the betterment of his community while balancing the other duties in his life, such as raising three children and being involved with his four grandchildren,” Sherlock said in a press release. “On top of all of this, Don has also served in the Timberville Lions Club since 1987, holding many offices including the current presidency.”
Taking his public service outside of Town Council and mayoral duties, DeLaughter also is a board member and treasurer for Trinity United Church of Christ, a volunteer for the “Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students)” program at John C. Myers Elementary School and helps once a month with the walk to school day at the elementary school.
When it comes to serving the community, DeLaughter said the service “means the world to me.”
“All too often people have an opinion but don’t get involved,” he said. “You need to be involved to make changes. Serving teaches you to be a leader.”