Clyde DeLoach, of the Blue Ridge District, and Denise Stirewalt, of the Peters Creek District, completed their respective terms as members of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors on Monday, December 11.
DeLoach lost his reelection bid to opponent Steve Marshall.
Stirewalt opted not to seek reelection.
When reflecting on their respective tenures, DeLoach said he enjoyed and appreciated his four-year tenure on the board.
“The people were good to work with. I think we had a wonderful board and worked well together, and I hope the chemistry continues, and I just wish them the best luck in the world,” he said.
Following the election, DeLoach congratulated Marshall, wished him the best, and told him, “If there’s anything I can do for him I’ll be glad to do it.”
Along with the people he worked with while on the board, DeLoach said he will miss being able to make a difference for the county.
“I’ll especially miss the work I did with VACO (Virginia Association of Counties) and getting to know people across the state,” he said.
DeLoach said his favorite memory and one of his biggest accomplishments of being on the board is the first year he, Stirewalt, and Clayton Kendrick, came onto the board, they were able to balance the budget and turn the county’s finances around a little bit.
Additionally, “I think the connections I made across the state were helpful, and I think they could be followed up and some good things done,” he said. “I think we became more professional, and I hope it keeps going, it should.”
DeLoach also believes Beth Simms, the new County Administrator, has the skills and the ideas to make a real difference “if people will work with her.”
One thing he wishes he could have accomplished was bringing 24-hour medical care to Patrick County.
“From the first, I said we really probably couldn’t get a hospital, and then it seemed to fall in our lap, and now it’s not going to work. So, I’m disappointed in that. I wish in a sense we had pushed harder to just get just the emergency room and maybe two or three beds, and not be pulled in other directions,” he said.
DeLoach said he hopes the encouragement to take more classes and learn more about the job continues for other board members.
“I hope they work hard to learn more. There’s more to it than just sitting there and saying yes or no,” he said.
DeLoach said he is leaving the board with his head held high, and noted there is no disgrace in losing.
“I think the disgrace is in thinking you can do something for people and not trying,” he said. “I hold no ill will toward anybody. Somebody asked me about my opponent, and I said, ‘You know, he was just trying to do the same thing, win the election.’ Which he did, so more power to him.”
For her part, Stirewalt said she felt she had accomplished the three main goals that prompted her to run for office, including a strong change in leadership, a stable financial status for the county, and restoring the board’s reputation.
In addition to meeting the goals that led her to run, Stirewalt also feels she aided in getting more paid Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
Stirewalt said she wishes she could have accomplished getting “full paid EMS staff, EMS building to house ambulances, recruitment of a healthcare provider” during her tenure on the board, but those tasks will fall to the current leadership.
“My family needs me more now,” she said, adding that she will miss brainstorming with county staff, former staff, and other board members to see how they can make things better.
She expressed gratitude to her employers – Felecia Shelor, Terri Birkett, and Vicki Bennett – for their understanding and cooperation in allowing her to do her job as a supervisor during working hours.
“It shows their dedication to the county as well,” she said. “And I’d like to thank all of the county staff and elected officials for their dedication, and for working tirelessly to improve the quality of life in our beautiful county.”