Rain doesn't dampen spirit, hope

Apr 29, 2013

Weekend rains dampened attendance at many weekend events, and in some cases, led to long-planned activities being postponed.

Such was not the case in two notable instances.

Deputy Daniel Blagg announced weeks ago he would be camping out on top of the old Belk building just off Russ Avenue in Waynesville in an effort to raise funds for Special Olympics.

The plans called for starting at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, and not coming down until Sunday evening. Rain was forecast last weekend, but it didn’t deter Blagg, who carried out his fundraiser as planned. Throughout most of the county, a hard rain settled in Friday and didn’t let up much the rest of the weekend. Despite it all, Blagg watched for visitors who came by to drop a donation in a bucket he lowered from the building top.

The effort was a unique one in Haywood, and Blagg’s determination to persevere despite what must have been a miserable several days is noteworthy. Thanks for your effort, Deputy Blagg, and thanks to all those who braved the dreary weather to support his cause.

Another group whose spirits and resolve was unhampered by the weather was those who drove out to the Cruso community Sunday to support Camp Hope, a 100-acre recreational facility built by Champion International nearly 90 years ago and now controlled by the town of Canton.

A lawsuit attempting to wrest control of the facility away from the town has mobilized public support, and an estimated 300 were on hand for the first-ever “Camp Hope Day.”

Organizers were ecstatic about the turnout, and were bolstered by the widespread representation from across the county, and even neighboring areas.

Those at the event not only spent time reminiscing about past events at the facility, but brainstorming about all that lies ahead.

A long-time neighbor suggested opening the area to Western Carolina University or Haywood Community College for use as an outdoor laboratory, and others spoke of many activities that could be held there to help defray the cost of maintaining and upgrading the large pavilion, gathering hall and numerous cabins on site.

Canton Mayor Mike Ray speculates the next step will be to organize a “Friends of Camp Hope” group that can work on everything from helping promote the facility to holding work days or fund-raising activities for its support.

The widespread attendance despite the gloomy weather that certainly kept many other supporters at home is a promising sign of hope for a camp known by the same name.