Long before Adam Dickson took his place on the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen in 2012, he knew what he wanted his main goal in life to be.
For Dickson, it’s always been all about public service.
“When you genuinely care about people and their welfare, you’re always looking for an opportunity to serve,” Dickson said. “All throughout my career, I’ve never really had a job; I’ve had an opportunity to serve.
“So when the opportunity presented itself in 2012 to run for the Jonesborough Board and Aldermen, to me it was a no-brainer to serve the people in this capacity.”
Now, with one term under his belt, Dickson wants to do more.
A native of Jonesborough and a graduate of David Crockett High School, Dickson received his bachelor’s degree from Carson-Newman College and his master’s in public administration from East Tennessee State University.
At one time, he worked with the town’s Civic Trust organization and in that capacity helped plan some of the first Jonesborough Days Festivities, and is now employed by Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union as a community development coordinator.
Like fellow alderman, Terry Countermine, community has always been a driving force for Dickson, who has his own special take on the concept.
“To me, it’s about making our communities stronger and more viable,” he said. “More attractive for economic development and seeing more of a bottom up rather than top down perspective.”
What that means, he explained, is that he believes in grassroots efforts and a community growing stronger through the actions of its individual members, not simply because a large business moves into the area.
“A small community really needs to think about its assets,” he said.
When we all come together as a community, we can make some fantastic things happen. When we as a community come together, we see great things happen.”
For Dickson, some of those great things have been the town’s community garden, the construction and development of the McKinney Center at the Booker T. Washington School, Music on the Square and more.
He also believes that the development of the Jackson Theatre project can be key in helping the town continue to grow in the right direction, realizing more opportunities and more revenue once the project is complete.
Perhaps one of the issues closest to Dickson’s heart, however, has been the establishment of the new Jonesborough Community Chest.
“By partnering with United Way, people can now make donations to United Way and designate their donation to come to the Community Chest,” he said. The chest, in turn, will make sure monies go to the appropriate local service organizations already helping to fill in the gap for local residents.
A earlier study conducted through ETSU showed real needs in both Jonesborough and the west end of the county, he said. These needs ranged from students who are missing lunches and dinners while school is out to seniors with home repair problems and more.
As the Community Chest continues to develop more needs can be met. And that, he said, means a stronger community.
“It’s Jonesborough citizens helping other citizens,” Dickson said. “It’s neighbors helping neighbors. And that’s how you build a community.”