Val Adamson has a simple message we often hear during the holidays, like on the Fourth of July: Be careful on the roads.
But for the Sheridan mayor, it comes with added meaning. He used to work for an ambulance and now works as the town’s funeral director. He has seen firsthand the repercussions of drinking and driving or texting behind the wheel.
Adamson knows folks don’t listen to traditional warnings about being safe, so he asks everyone to think about what your death would mean to your family.
“Consider what an error of a millisecond will make to them. It won’t make much difference to you if you’re gone,” he said. “But what does that mean to the rest of the family?”
Close to his town of Sheridan, Adamson has pushed for safety improvements along Highway 18, a main route to the Oregon Coast. There have been people who died on that highway who are buried at Adamson’s cemetery.
Safer roads might reduce his business as a funeral director and a cemetery owner, but he sees the bigger picture.
"It was a personal fight because, you know, it could be me. It could be my kids," Adamson said.
Highway 18 is a lot safer now than it was a decade ago. But in years’ past, Adamson said he did notice an uptick in close calls and accidents during holiday weekends – another reminder to drive safe.