Personality profile: Larry Adams

Taylor Pardue Staff Reporter

August 20, 2013

Larry Adams has been serving his country patriotically long before he became the mayor of East Bend.

It was during the Vietnam War when Adams gave his first sacrifice.

“I stepped on a mine and lost half my foot,” Adams said. He lost his big toe,the ball joint, broke all of his other toes and broke the bones in the top of his foot.

“I had to learn to walk again,” Adams said. “I didn’t realize that was my balance.”

After flying him to Japan for surgery military officials asked him where he wanted to be relocated stateside.

Adams is a native of East Bend and was newly married, with his wife Judith living in Winston-Salem while he was in the service. He wanted to be stationed somewhere his loved ones could visit him easily.

So Fort Bragg it was, he told them.

“I stayed in Fort Bragg at Womack Army Hospital for a good while. Eventually they let me go to a medical holding company,” Adams said. “I just had to learn to walk again. My ankle now is my balance.”

He and other soldiers, whether they used crutches or wheelchairs, would still get up and do formations every day.

Contrary to everything a soldier is told, Adams volunteered for something while there.

“In the military you don’t volunteer for anything,” Adams said. “The First Sergeant asked me, ‘Can anybody type?’ I’m thinking, ‘What would be the bad thing about typing?’”

He raised his hand and volunteered.

“This is what I want you to do,” the sergeant said later. “I want you to just stay in there and if I need anything typed that’s all you have to do.”

He told Adams to type himself a pass and put it in his pocket allowing him to get out of duty every weekend. He was able to go home every weekend and said volunteering paid off that time.

He was discharged in September of 1969 and moved west to his hometown.

“You try to carry on your life from then on. You go to work, you start a family,” Adams said.

He and Judith have two married sons and four grandchildren - two boys and two girls. Their first child was stillborn.

In the early 1980s Adams and a group of friends decided they wanted to help East Bend and run for office. His first election was for town commissioner, followed by his first mayoral term.

He kept the post until 1991.

In October of 1991 he was hired to be the town manager of Yadkinville, something Adams said drew questions as to how the situation should work.

With only two months to go in his term and no reelection coming up, he decided to stay and finish his term.

It was decided that since Adams was not the town manager and mayor of the same town the dual roles posed no conflict.

He worked as Yadkinville’s town manager until 1997.

That same year he made the move to county government as the director of services, holding the post until 2005.

He retired and began regularly attending East Bend meetings. When a town commissioner told the board he could no longer fill his term the board appointed Adams to fill the remaining time.

In 2011 the mayor of East Bend told Adams to run for mayor again since he would not be seeking reelection. He ran unopposed and is finishing that term.

Adams is running unopposed for mayor again this year for another two-year term.

Adams says he is a NASCAR and racing fan like most of Yadkin County. He was a baseball player in high school and played some after his combat injuries. He eventually had to give it up after the pain got to be too much.

Instead he gave the East Bend community a ball field to enjoy the pastime for themselves. He and his neighbor were responsible for turning the ball field behind the town’s senior center into a reality.

Adams said he wanted to do his best for his home, from being a mayor to being a person in the community.

“I want to do what I could for the town,” Adams said. “The town is where I was born and raised.”

To contact Taylor Pardue call 336-835-1513 ext. 15, or email him at tpardue@civitasmedia.com.