Behind the board: An occasional series profiling the lives of elected supervisors.
Westover District Supervisor Ron Scearce was never really sure what he wanted to do, but he’s OK with the path his life has taken.
Scearce was born and raised in Danville, and after he graduated from George Washington High School at 18 he decided to join the military.
He signed up for the Air Force and never looked back, even when they put him in Missouri guarding nuclear missiles.
“I realized that wasn’t a great career field to have, and retrained as quickly as they allowed me to,” Scearce told the Register & Bee. “I went into radio communications and repair. I went into satellite communications throughout that career, and eventually they threw us into doing IT stuff on top of that.”
Thanks to his technological work, Scearce got to travel all over the world installing and repairing equipment as both a military man and a commercial government contractor 22 years later.
“I really enjoyed that aspect, really got to see a lot of the world and doing IT and satellite communications stuff,” he said. “It was a really fun job for me, because I love to travel.”
However, his life took an unexpected turn in 2012 when he was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, a cancer caused by ingesting asbestos fibers.
“Most people get mesothelioma in their lungs, but I came down with a rare form of the cancer,” Scearce said. “I’ve had two bouts with it. One in 2012 when they finally figured out what was going on. Doing so much travelling, they couldn’t figure it out. They thought I had some disease from one of those exotic places I had been, but they finally realized what they were dealing with, so I had to go through chemo in 2012.”
He had another issue last year, which caused him to be absent for the only vote he has missed as a board member, but says he now has a clean bill of health.
“I have to go every four months for a scan, to make sure that nothing’s growing again,” Scearce said.
Elected to the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors in 2016, Scearce said he “honestly went around trying to find anyone else” but himself to run, after learning that Coy Harville was retiring.
Scearce is the president of the Danville Tea Party and said he never saw himself in politics, but it seemed like a “natural transition” to run for the board for the Westover District.
“It’s not something I relished, but I felt I could do a good job on the board as far as focusing on keeping taxes low and focusing on the economy,” Scearce said. “I didn’t want to do it to make myself look better or get a step up on anyone. It’s one of those things that I kind of got thrown into the mix. It’s been a lot of fun, though.”
Scearce said that as a leader, he looks up to President Donald Trump, state Delegates Danny Marshall and Les Adams, and state Sens. Frank Ruff and Bill Stanley.
He has been a Trump supporter since early days in the campaign, and Scearce is proud of what he’s done since he became president on Jan. 20.
“He’s a fighter, and I knew we were going to need someone like that for president. It seems like everyone’s attacking him, whether it’s the GOP and most of the Democrats, and the media,” Scearce said. “It seems like every day it’s like a full on attack, but he’s standing tall. To me, that’s what we needed in a president — someone who’s going to get up there and drain the swamp.”
Scearce says he’s grateful to local leadership for willingness to help with any issue the county runs into.
“When he first ran, he got in there late and had a Democratic opponent, which is unusual for the district,” said Will Pace, chairman of the Pittsylvania County Republican Party said. “I was strongly supportive of his campaign even before I became the chairman.”
Scearce’s dream is to see the county “get to a point where we don’t have to worry about our budgets, and we see the tax revenue come in from those [economic development] projects. Then we can focus more on education and workforce development.”
He said he isn’t sure if he wants to run again when his term ends, but that “if we’re still having as much fun and getting as much done,” it will definitely be a possibility for him.
“Ron is an excellent board member — very committed to research and doing his due diligence to make sure he’s on top of whatever issue is coming up,” Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Warren said. “He’s been vital in legislative and code changes we’ve had to make. He’s extremely fiscally responsible and wants to watch every tax dollar we spend to make sure each dollar is spent wisely for each citizen of Pittsylvania County.”
Pace had nothing but good things to say of him.
“I think he’s doing a great job. I’m thrilled he’s on the board. I think it’s great for the county. I salute him. He’s a great guy and a great friend,” Pace said.