Around the Way with EJ: Mayor Sherman Lea

‘We want to keep positive things going on in our community.’

ROANOKE, Va. – We’ve seen him for years in a suit and tie as a Roanoke City Councilman and now as the Mayor of Roanoke. But there’s more to Sherman Lea than just the title and position he holds.

“I’m a father and a grandfather and I enjoy athletics. Athletics have been good to me. It allowed me to go to college.”

Virginia Union University to be exact where he stood out on the football field

“I was a player on the team but not a major player.”

But Lea made enough of an impact to be a 2-time Hall of Famer for the Panthers--inducted individually in 2019 and as part of the 1973 CIAA Championship team in 2021.

“I like athletics because I think it teaches kids how to work with each other.”

During our conversation, Lea stressed the value and importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the impact they made on him at a young age.

“HBCUs are schools that work hard and teach you the fact that you’ve got to work hard.”

In regards to his current role as Mayor of Roanoke, Lea says the goal remains the same, “We want to keep positive things going on in our community.” He has tried to do that throughout the years with various organizations and efforts, including the Lea Youth Outdoor Basketball League and more.

About the Author

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.

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