The Henrico County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday elected Patricia S. O’Bannon chairman and Frank J. Thornton vice chairman for 2014.
This year will mark O’Bannon’s fourth service as board chairman, a position she held most recently in 2010. She first was elected Tuckahoe District supervisor in 1995 and currently is serving her fifth term on Henrico’s board. She replaces Three Chopt District Supervisor David A. Kaechele as chairman.
“Henrico County will remain steadfast in our role as a leader in this region (in 2014),” O’Bannon said. Henrico will continue to work hard to maintain its business-friendly climate, a trait for which the county is “noticed nationally,” she said.
O’Bannon also discussed Mental Health First Aid, a new initiative that is training frontline county employees to recognize and respond to signs of mental illness when working with the public.
“This program is a new way to help save lives and assist people who may be experiencing mental health crises,” she said. “It is one example of how Henrico County works very hard to provide excellent customer service to everyone.”
O’Bannon serves on a variety of national, statewide and regional governmental organizations, including the National Association of Counties (NACo), Virginia Association of Counties (VACo), Virginia Executive Council for Comprehensive Services for At-Risk Youth and Families, Virginia Coalition for Open Government, Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, Richmond Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the Greater Richmond Partnership and the Henricus Foundation.
O’Bannon is a past recipient of the Patrick Henry Award for Government Service to the Commonwealth of Virginia and of Good Housekeeping magazine’s Women in Government award. A Richmond native, she is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and a former English teacher, news editor for a local publication and development associate for public television.
Thornton, who first was elected to represent the Fairfield District in 1995, also is serving his fifth term on the Henrico board. He holds appointed positions with a number of organizations, including NACo, VACo, Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, Richmond Area MPO and the Maymont Foundation.
Thornton, a Richmond native, is a co-founder and past president of the Henrico County Civic League. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Union University and a master’s degree from American University. He works as an assistant professor of French at Virginia Union, where he has received the university’s Teacher of the Year award. He also is a recipient of the John Jasper Trailblazer Award from Richmond’s Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church.