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Members committed to "saving" the Piedmont-Pleasant Hill Community Club

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Following the leadership of Bossman Billy (Honeycutt), far left, Women Roofers on the job.

Three members of the Piedmont-Pleasant Hill Community Club sat at long white-clothed tables inside an unlighted clubhouse recently reminiscing about the days of the award-winning community club and how the clubhouse was the center of the community. They discussed the efforts in saving the more than 60-year-old building and community club.

As the ladies quietly talked inside, there were rumblings up on the roof of the 1957 building.

The Women Roofers were busy taking off shingles and preparing to recover the flat roof. The project was begun in the fall of 2019 with a commitment to complete flat part of the roof in 2020.

But COVID-19 changed everything and roofing came to a halt for the nationally known Women Roofers.

Finally during the weekend of March 11-13, led by Bossman Billy Honeycutt, the roofing project was completed, the yard cleaned up and members are now ready for the next improvement projects and hopefully a covered dish dinner in the future.

Although three days were scheduled to complete the job, the roofers were finished Friday afternoon. Saturday morning was used for a few minor finishing tasks and final clean-up.

Club members Nancy Koone, 70, Doris Keever, 90, and Mae McMahan, 76, met the roofers at the clubhouse each morning. They helped prepare delicious lunch meals for the roofers and around noon Thursday and Friday everyone gathered inside the clubhouse for potato soup, vegetable beef soup, cornbread and homemade desserts.

McMahan made vanilla pound cake with icing, Coca Cola cake and apple cake.

Club members Steve and Lois Dimsdale brought hot dogs and chili on Friday.

On Saturday morning, Doris was joined on site by Cheryl Austin, club president.

Social distancing and mask wearing were observed at all times.

Doris is a chapter member of the community club that was formed in the mid-1950s. She looks forward to the day members can come back together.

Prior to building the clubhouse, members met at another location for a couple of years, she said.

Nancy joined the club with her parents when she was about five years old and remembers the fun times meeting there with other children of the community and nearby rural communities.

"Up until COVID we had quarterly meetings and pot luck or covered dish dinners about once a quarter,' Nancy said.

As the age or the roof caught up with the club, leaking became a problem in several areas of the clubhouse.

Club members began hosting spaghetti dinners and having yard sales to raise money to repair the roof. Even during that time buckets were placed strategically throughout the building to catch the water.

"I raised about $600 one time by myself," a proud Doris spoke up.

"We used the money we raised to get the roof done," she said.

As the money was being raised, Doris said she contacted Laura Hodge, a member of Women Roofers and a pharmacist at the Medicine Box in nearby Rutherfordton, inquiring about possible help from the group.

"We had heard about the good work of the Women Roofers," Doris explained.

Hodge said she immediately contacted Billy Honeycutt and he and fellow roofer Nell Bovender began the discussions.

"They (club) raised the funds and we agreed to do the work," Honeycutt said.

Years ago when the Women Roofers were organized, the women and Honeycutt roofed the Mt. Vernon Community Clubhouse after the community raised the money for supplies.

"At that time we had just begun and a group came to help us," Nell said. "They probably knew more about roofing at that time than we did" Bovender said

If there is a request for a community roofing project and the money can be raised, the group will consider the job, Bovender said.

There have been times when community groups will not only raise money for materials but have also paid the roofers for the work. The money went back into the Women Roofers coffers to roof other homes.

Honeycutt said the group never gets caught up with its long list of roofing projects.

"There is always a need," he said.

The Piedmont-Pleasant Hill Clubhouse features a flat roof on the back side of the building and that was new to the group. Honeycutt taught the roofers what to do and the job was done in two days.

"At some time they will have to add something to the flat roof...We stopped the leak," he said.

As the roofers worked, there was talk from members of hopefully getting together for the annual Christmas dinner in 2021. The 2020 event was canceled because of COVID.

The gatherings will all depend on the health of the County, State and Nation.

"Doris always brought gifts for all the children," Mae said of past Christmas parties.

Mae McMahan remembers being a part of the community club also as a teenager and it was a "hang-out" spot for teens on Friday nights. There was a shuffle board almost the length of the clubhouse and there were other games.

"It was a fun time," Mae said.

There was music, but dancing was never allowed.

Nancy remembers children from all across the area gathering at the clubhouse to play the Piedmont-Pleasant Hill children.

"The clubhouse was the heart of the community," Nancy said.

It was the setting for community parties, wedding and anniversary receptions.

But when the two community churches - Piedmont and Pleasant Hill - both built fellowship halls, more events were held there.

Area 4-H clubs and Boy Scouts met at the clubhouse. Candle making classes and other extension classes were taught there to children, youth and adults in the community

Flower shows were presented by the late Florence Duncan, a faithful member. She was known in the area for her beautiful work with flowers.

The community club members entered state contests annually and received dozens of blue ribbons and certificates for their club's work. Some members attended the annual Western North Carolina community club recognition luncheons in Asheville each December sponsored by the NC Cooperative Extension Service.

Club president Austin, who now resides in McDowell County said she, too, spent a lot of time there as a child.

"I grew up running between the adults as they had their meetings, and have very fond memories of waiting for Santa to come and hand out treat bags to the children during the Christmas meeting," Austin said. "All the club members have such good memories of coming together and enjoying the company of all the community.

"This is what has driven each person to work toward saving this building. Without the Women Roofers and the Rutherford Housing Partnership we could not have replaced the roof and started the process of repairing this building. Everyone is so very grateful to this wonderful organization," Austin added.

"It is extremely gratifying to have the roof done," Doris Keever added.

There are other improvements that are needed inside the clubhouse, including water damaged ceilings.

Flooring and a new furnace are needed

"We wish we could get younger people involved," Nancy said.

Everyone is encouraged to join in the restoration and revitalization of the clubhouse.

"Whether you take part or not you can participate because you are a member of the community," Nancy said in her plea for interested persons to join the renovation project.

Depending on the status of COVID-19 in December, if it's at all possible this community club will gather again, sing Christmas carols, give gifts and be proud to be a part of the Piedmont-Pleasant Hill Community in its restored facility.

Area 4-H clubs and Boy Scouts met at the clubhouse. Candle making classes and other extension classes were taught there to children, youth and adults in the community

Flower shows were presented by the late Florence Duncan, a faithful member. She was known in the area for her beautiful work with flowers.

The community club members entered state contests annually and received dozens of blue ribbons and certificates for their club's work. Some members attended the annual Western North Carolina community club recognition luncheons in Asheville each December sponsored by the NC Cooperative Extension Service.

Club president Austin, who now resides in McDowell County said she, too, spent a lot of time there as a child.

"I grew up running between the adults as they had their meetings, and have very fond memories of waiting for Santa to come and hand out treat bags to the children during the Christmas meeting," Austin said. "All the club members have such good memories of coming together and enjoying the company of all the community.

"This is what has driven each person to work toward saving this building. Without the Women Roofers and the Rutherford Housing Partnership we could not have replaced the roof and started the process of repairing this building. Everyone is so very grateful to this wonderful organization," Austin added.

"It is extremely gratifying to have the roof done," Doris Keever added.

There are other improvements that are needed inside the clubhouse, including water damaged ceilings.

Flooring and a new furnace are needed

"We wish we could get younger people involved," Nancy said.

Everyone is encouraged to join in the restoration and revitalization of the clubhouse.

"Whether you take part or not you can participate because you are a member of the community," Nancy said in her plea for interested persons to join the renovation project.

Depending on the status of COVID-19 in December, if it's at all possible this community club will gather again, sing Christmas carols, give gifts and be proud to be a part of the Piedmont-Pleasant Hill Community in its restored facility.

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