As those of us who live in Anderson County already know, the Volunteer spirit runs deep in these parts. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we may forget that, but our neighbors never do, always coming through in the clutch, as it were.
The following is a letter penned by a man was traveling through the area with his wife in November, when they experienced some car trouble and got off the interstate in Rocky Top.
WYSH would like to thank Anderson County Commissioner Tim Isbel for passing this letter along.
“TO: Coal Creek Miners Museum
℅ Sandy Sharpe Savarese, Director
Dear Ms. Savarese,
Thank you for speaking with me today about the small donation we have made online to the Coal Creek Miners Museum. It is a mere token of our appreciation for the compassion and generosity shown to us by two Rocky Top men, who declined payment for the services they rendered.
Here’s what happened…
The day after Veteran’s Day my wife and I were returning from a visit with family in Marietta, Georgia to our home in Burlington, Kentucky. As we were coming up the mountain from Knoxville on I-75 something punctured our tire. So, we made an unscheduled visit to Rocky Top, Tennessee. What began as an “Oh no!” moment became an experience that filled us with admiration, gratitude, humility and pride… all because of two men we met in Rocky Top.
When we exited I-75 and pulled into the Advance Auto Parts parking lot it began to drizzle. Once inside the store we discovered Advance doesn’t sell tires. But Eddie Isaacs came out to look at our flat. Then he got into action. He pulled his vehicle next to ours and used his own equipment to inflate our tire so that we could drive a little way down the street. Meanwhile, his assistant in the store called ahead to the nearest tire store and told them we would be there soon. By this time Eddie was soaked with rain. I asked him what I owed him. He said, “No charge.” He gave me directions to Lake City Tire Shop and we departed quickly before all the air could leak out of the damaged tire.
When we pulled up to the tire shop they were waiting for us. The garage door raised right on cue. We pulled in and immediately Dwayne Huddleston and his crew were ready to go to work. It was like pulling into pit row at the Indianapolis 500. The bad tire was off in a flash and Dwayne found the un-repairable puncture. He disposed of that tire and began the hunt for a replacement. He didn’t have one in his shop because our tires are an unusual size. So, he called around to his suppliers and competitors. The tire would have to be ordered. Dwayne asked how far we were going and, knowing tires as he does, said that it should not be a problem to drive on our compact spare, “as long as you don’t drive it too hard.”
Dwayne’s crew unloaded the luggage from our SUV, put on the spare, returned the luggage and, just like Eddie, said, “No charge.”
We pulled out of the garage and were on our way home. As we went through Rocky Top, we passed the Coal Creek Miners Museum. That’s what gave us an idea.
Compassionate and generous people don’t happen in a vacuum. They come from family or community or church or school or something. We don’t know what motivated Eddie Isaacs or Dwayne Huddleston. But we are very glad they were brought up to be the kind of men that their community can be proud of. Since Dwayne and Eddie declined payment, we thought we would show our appreciation to the Rocky Top community by making a donation to their museum.
We will always remember our unscheduled visit to Rocky Top, Tennessee, where Eddie and Dwayne volunteered themselves, their own resources, and called on their business connections including their competitors to help two strangers in distress.
It makes a person grateful and proud to know there are communities like Rocky Top where the best qualities of the United States of America are fostered and preserved.
Lex & Leslie Hannan