• Scott Ramler of the U.S. Marine Corps League trims a piece of wood to replace a damaged section of a widow’s wall in Cherokee County. Photo by Samantha Sinclair
    Scott Ramler of the U.S. Marine Corps League trims a piece of wood to replace a damaged section of a widow’s wall in Cherokee County. Photo by Samantha Sinclair
  • Patrons view the “Postcards from the Edge” exhibit at the Murphy Art Center on Friday night during Art Walk. Photo by Ben Katz
    Patrons view the “Postcards from the Edge” exhibit at the Murphy Art Center on Friday night during Art Walk. Photo by Ben Katz

SCOUTING AROUND: Local veterans respond to help repair widow’s home

    Hanging Dog – Joyce Wright was concerned one of her grandchildren would fall through the floor. The dining room floor was in bad shape, and the table was visibly slanting down toward the back corner.
    Something had to be done, but she didn’t want to leave the house she’d lived in since shortly after it was built in 1948. Her son-in-law, Alan Morrill, decided to talk to John Giddens at the Cherokee County Veterans Service Office as a last hope for help.
    Wright’s husband and Morrill’s father-in-law, Paul “Nick” Wright, served as a Marine for 14 years before making his home in Cherokee County. He passed away in 2010.
    Shortly after Giddens announced the call for help to local organizations, Marine Corps League Detachment 1011 in Marble responded. Several other local veteran organizations also offered their help, and Hayesville American Legion Post 532 donated funds for supplies.
    “This is what we do,” said Frank Bailey, commandant of the Marine Corps League. “We help out local veterans.”
    On June 27, nine volunteers led by Bailey descended on Wright’s home and began the project. They carefully pulled up the carpeting and found extensive termite damage, but did not see any bugs. Morrill could see his family was fortunate the entire floor hadn’t caved in.
    The veterans spent three days removing damaged wood, replacing the floor with layers of plywood and replacing sections of the wall that had termite damage. Morrill, a veteran himself, helped.
    “These guys are heroes, absolutely heroes,” he said. “There isn’t enough thanks.”
    Wright was not present for the renovations – she had a hip replacement and was recovering at a rehabilitation facility as the veterans worked to repair the damage to her home. While she had fallen a few times in her home, it was unknown if the floor’s stability caused her to need the surgery.
    Morrill said the floor replacement will allow Wright to live in her home for the rest of her life. He said the veterans did fantastic work and praised Bailey’s construction knowledge.
    “They’re earning medals all over again,” Morrill said. “They’re doing the Marine Corps proud.”

MAC special exhibit delivers
    Murphy – The Cherokee County Arts Council’s newest exhibit is small enough to allow 73 pieces of art to fill the walls of the Cultural Calendar Room of the Murphy Art Center.
    “Postcards from the Edge” is a traveling exhibit of postcard-sized art presented by the Western Arts Agencies of North Carolina. Area arts councils directors, including Cherokee County’s David Vowell, asked volunteers to donate work for the show for a total of 160 pieces from 88 artists. The show was split in half so two councils could host the exhibit at the same time.
    Some are photos, while others are paintings, ink drawings, pencil drawings or mixed media delicately arranged in on the small canvas. All are presented with white mats surrounded by 13 square-inch black frames.
    “I love it,” Vowell said. “When I saw what I had, that’s what I loved.”
    The exhibit visited each of the eight participating arts councils’ galleries for a month, moving southeast across the region. Cherokee County, along with Swain County, is the last stop for the exhibit.  The exhibit includes work from Cherokee County artists Joyce
Clare, Scott Davis, Sharol Caley, Deborah Larsen, Pam Strawn, Virginia Urani, Jim Allsopp, Nadine Yawn, Sheryl Bessette and Lynn Nolte.
    Each piece in the show is available to purchase for $75. The exhibit opened Friday night, with a preview Thursday. Vowell said he sold three of the works before the weekend began.
    Funds raised from the sale of pieces benefit our arts council, as well as the other arts councils in the westernmost part of the state. Vowell said the Cherokee County Arts Council’s share of funds raised will got toward Arts in the Schools programs.
    The Western Arts Agencies is a volunteer board of arts councils executives from 18 counties that work together to strengthen the arts community in western North Carolina. Vowell said their meetings are good for sharing creative ideas and solving problems. The organization also helps pay for arts council personnel to attend conferences.
    The postcard exhibit is a special event that the Western Arts Agencies presents only every five years. Vowell said in 2014, he recalls there were 70 pieces of art from 50 artists. Out of the 20 local pieces in that show, 11 sold. The other nine are displayed behind Vowell’s desk, and if enough pieces sell this year he may add them to the show.
    The show will be on display through July 31.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.

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