In the face of a Parkinson's disease diagnosis, Tommy Dawson, Ward 8 council representative, was unable to continue serving with the Auburn Police Division. Dawson said he's never been one to twiddle his thumbs, so he continued his service to Auburn as a city councilman.
Dawson spent 26 years giving back to the city as a police officer for the Auburn Police Division. Dawson was appointed chief of police for three years. He said he thoroughly enjoyed the work.
Doctors diagnosed Dawson with Parkinson's disease in 2009. He retired in 2013.
"It's a tough disease to deal with, and I thank God it's no worse than it is," Dawson said.
In 2013, Dawson's physician advised him to step down from his position with the police division because of the physical and mental stress.
"I wish I could work still, if I was able, I'd still be a police officer," Dawson said. "It's the love of my life, as far as occupation goes."
Dawson said since retirement, the disease's progression has slowed. With exercise and positive thinking, Dawson said he is doing well. Dawson hasn't let the diagnosis stop him from hunting and fishing, some of his favorite pass times.
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"Parkinson's affects the mind as much as it does the physical side, so you have to keep your mind right," Dawson said. "I have a deep faith in Jesus Christ, and I stay in touch with him daily and work through it."
Dawson and his family are active in church and enjoy attending together.
Dawson is a sixth-generation Auburn native that lives on the same land as the past two generations of Dawsons. Dawson raises goats, ducks and geese on his farm.
"Animals are unique to me because they don't talk about you," Dawson said. "If you are ugly to them one day, they still love you the next day. Everyday I go out there [the animals] are glad to see me. They don't hold my faults against me. I've very partial to my animals."
Dawson graduated from Beauregard High School and received his degree in criminal justice from Southern Union Community College and Faulkner University.
Dawson's been married for 29 years and has a daughter that works as a nurse. His parents live on the same land, in the house behind his own.
"My father's a minister, and I wasn't cut out to be a minister so I wanted to find another way to give back to the community that's been so good to me," Dawson said.
Dawson said he feels that he has made a difference throughout his time as Ward 8 representative. He has enjoyed partaking in decisions more than he initially thought, with moving from a job as taxing as chief of police to City Council.
"For 26 years, Auburn is all I've known," Dawson said. "I thought about running and prayed about it. It's the best way for me to continue to serve."
Dawson said Auburn has given him a way to support his family, a strong faith and a welcoming community.
Dawson has been a council representative since 2014. He would like to serve for two terms, serving one more after his current term.
As a former police officer and current councilman, Dawson prides himself on his integrity, honesty and humility. He feels that he brings knowledge of law enforcement and safety to the table for the City Council, as many other members of the council have strengths in other areas.
Dawson said he played a large part in the new public safety bill and contract with the Auburn University and feels that both will be huge assets to the community. Dawson would like to see more retail shops in East Auburn and more restaurants around the city as a whole.
Dawson said his main focus is keeping the people of Auburn safe.
"We are tasked in the City of Auburn with taking care of 25,000 children and it changes every year," Dawson said. "Public safety] is something we have to work really hard towards to keep our children safe."
FAVE COLOR AUBURN BLUE
FAVE MOVIE GONE WITH THE WIND "I think it shows how much a person can love another even if they don't love ya back."
FAVE FOOD IN AUBURN BYRON'S BBQ
LISTENS TO COUNTRY MUSIC and 80s POP
Someone took his pencil out of his hand when he was trying to write them a ticket once.
BEING AT ONE WITH THE WOODS
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