Committee seeks to name bridge to honor man’s memory

Published 9:44 am Tuesday, January 6, 2015

To honor the memory of a Roan Mountain man who was murdered last year, members of the Carter County Highway Committee approved a petition from the man’s neighbors to rename a bridge near his home after him.
Several of those neighbors attended a public hearing held during the Highway Committee’s meeting to voice their support of renaming a bridge on Heaton Creek Road after the late Danny Ray Vance.
“Mr. Vance was a member of the Roan Mountain community who was very well regarded,” Committee Chairman Mike Hill said, adding that while he represents the Roan Mountain district he himself did not have the pleasure of knowing Vance.
A petition to rename the bridge was circulated through the community, Hill said, which resulted in the formal request to the committee and the required public hearing.
The petition asks that the bridge closest to Vance’s home at 690 Heaton Creek Road be renamed the Dan Vance Memorial Bridge.
Vance’s sister, Kappie Vance, was in attendance at the meeting and she read to committee members a statement she had prepared regarding her late brother.
“When you think of Dan you think of Heaton Creek,” she said. “Dan was brought home to Heaton Creek. Dan died on Heaton Creek at the same house he was brought home to.”
She told committee members her brother had only lived in two homes during his 56 years of life, and both of them had been on that road.
Danny Vance worked at Roan Mountain State Park for 33 years, Kappie Vance said, and he was frequently called “the gatekeeper of Heaton Creek” or the “mayor of Heaton Creek” by members of the community.
“He was quick to lend a helping hand to anyone and gave from his heart,” Kappie Vance said of her late brother. “His garden was always plentiful and he always shared. He was always there to help dig graves, bring food or give an offering of money, usually telling you ‘Don’t say anything, but here is some money to put on whatever.’”
Her brother was much-loved by those who knew him, she said, and gave back to his community every chance he was able to.
Because of his dedication to his community and his life-time spent on Heaton Creek, Kappie Vance said she along with many friends and family were asking the county to name the bridge after her brother.
Commissioner Nancy Brown, who is not a member of the committee but was in attendance at the meeting, also represents the Roan Mountain district and she voice her support of the family’s request.
“I really think it needs to be named after him,” Brown said. “He was a fine person. You couldn’t find better than Danny Vance.”
Committee member Danny Ward made a motion to name the bridge in honor of Danny Vance. The motion was seconded by Committee member Jerry Proffitt and passed unanimously on a vote.
The request to name the bridge will now be taken before the full commission for a vote. The commission is next slated to meet on Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 9 a.m.
In other business, members of the committee voted unanimously to refer requests from residents to make two private roads – Williams Lane and Town View Estates Drive – into county roads to the county attorney for further research.

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