Alfred Dowe is slowly climbing out of the pit, the disgrace that he has worn like a heavy coat for months since he left Roanoke City Council a thief.
Dow was caught heavily padding his expense account and ultimately resigned when the heat became intense. He was not prosecuted for a felony (though he was held accountable for misdemeanors), but the payback has been severe. Dowe had been a successful banker, an NBA role model for minor league players who played for the Roanoke Dazzle and a popular member of Roanoke City Council.
But that all went away suddenly.
Today, though, Dowe--a man with considerable energy, a large smile, a backslap for anybody who passes--remains a popular figure. At William Fleming High School's graduation today, he was constantly surrounded by well-wishers, few of whom avoided Dowe's troubles, virtually all of whom said they had offered a prayer or two for him. For that, and for the outpouring of support he has received for many months, Dowe is grateful.
"Some days are harder than others," he says. "Every day, I think of another person I hurt or affected in some negative way, somebody I disappointed. It's day by day, but the community helps. The people continually offer support.
"I remain positive; I've never lost that. I'm the same guy I was, but a different man. You know that there was a reason I was popular, that I could build consensus, that people listened to me and, frankly, I'm still a decent guy.
"Life offers its lessons as a present to us. It all comes down to how we get up and define ourselves."
These days Dowe, who appears to have bulked up a bit in recent months, is defining himself by contributing work to people who toil for ESPN and the NBA. He's been as a basketball talent scout for years. He says he is also an independent contractor, "contributing at Owens/Corning as a design consultant" for homes. It's all pretty unclear, but when you're in Alfred Dowe's shoes these days, that's what you're dealing with.
(Note: Eleanor S. DeVane, associate general counsel for ESPN, writes: ""Please be advised that a quick search of our electronic records failed to produce any confirmation that Mr. Alfred Dowe is working for ESPN in any capacity." I mentioned to her that a volunteer would likely not be listed as an employee in HR records.)