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Community    |    Articles of interest to the community.

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published on 10/01/2006

Making Time for Others

By staff writer

Brenda Rogers with winning quilt
Not long ago we heard about a couple that lives in our community, Brenda and Jim Rogers, who are spending their retirement years serving others. Closest to their heart now is the Stecoah Valley Center located near Robbinsville, NC. Although it’s about a three-and-a-half hour drive from Signal Mountain, they make the trip two or three times a month. Apparently, Stecoah and Graham Counties are among the poorest counties in North Carolina. According to Jim, they happened upon it when they were invited to stay, years ago, in a cabin owned by his brother.

They consider themselves part-time residents of Robbinsville and spend their afternoons volunteering at the Stecoah Valley Arts, Crafts and Educational Center. The mission of the center is to “serve the people of Stecoah and Graham Country through programs and services that benefit all members of the community, through the preservation and promotion of Southern Appalachian mountain culture and through the restoration of the historic old Stecoah School to its original role as the center of the community.”

Brenda is a weaver and teaches the children in after school programs how to weave, knit and quilt. A member of the Stecoah Valley Weavers as well as the Artisan’s Guild, she has won awards and prizes for her quilts including the grand prize at the Graham County Stecoah Fair for a quilt that was completely hand stitched and personally designed. Her quilts have been on display at the Chattanooga Regional History Museum.

The Weavers Guild gets contracts from all over the country for a variety of hand-made crafts. Brenda teaches the local men and women to make the crafts and they in turn sell the crafts making extra money for themselves. In addition the Artisan’s Guild, made up of only board approved artists features the work of over 70 artists from over four states around the Western Carolina community. Thirty percent of each sale to the public goes back to the Guild to pay for rent and utilities at the Center.

The Stecoah Valley Center will celebrate its 10th anniversary with an annual Harvest Festival on October 20 – 22. Beginning with a bonfire on Friday, the main events – live music, clogging, craft vendors, food and entertainment will be all day Saturday. Sheep shearing, Civil War encampment and country fair among many other things are also planned. For details you can go to

But if you thought the Rogers were devoted to only the needy in North Carolina, you might want to think again. Jim works as a partner with Food Lion and Second Harvest as a Partner Agency. At one time he did this five days a week. But recently he cut back to three days a week driving to local Food Lions in the Chattanooga area and picking up food and delivering it to over 28 charities in the Chattanooga, Hamilton County, North Georgia area. He uses his personal mini-van to which he thanks Herb Adcox Chevrolet for donating parts and labor to keep the van working so Jim can keep delivering the food.

On Monday through Wednesday while Brenda is at home sewing for , Jim is driving around town delivering food to those in need. Then on Thursday they drive through the mountains of Tennessee to Robinsville, NC, to begin their volunteer work at the Center. Sometimes Jim has to come out of retirement. The former owner of Southside Antiques, he has been asked to consult on PBS’ Antique Roadshow.

If you would like to learn more about the service projects both Jim and Brenda are involved in you can email him at or call him at . We wish them much luck and congratulate them on their dedication and devotion to helping those in need.

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