Highway Committee hears request to honor Roan Mountain resident

Published 12:09 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Carter County Commission Logoi
Members of the Roan Mountain community are joining forces with a family to honor a long-time community activist who will soon turn 100 years old.
On Monday evening, members of the Highway Committee heard a request from Vista Clark to rename a short stretch of road currently known as Old Highway 143 in honor of her father, Derwood Julian.
Julian, once a salesman for Carharrt, was a very active member of his community and believes in serving others, Clark said.
“He loves Roan Mountain,” she said of her father.
Over the years, Julian served on a number of boards, including time as both a member and chairman of the Carter County Board of Education and a member of the board for the Elizabethton-Carter County Public Library. A lifetime meber of the Gideons, he also worked for years with Roan Mountain’s Rhododendron Festival and helped start the band program at Cloudland High School.
“He helped start the Roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, him and three other guys,” Clark said. “The charter for the Fire Department is at our house.”
In addition to helping the community at large, Clark said her father also lended a hand to individuals in need, often without anyone knowing.
“A lot of the things he did, he did quietly,” she said.
Julian has been diagnosed with dementia and his health is declining, so Clark said she, her family and members of the community have been looking for a way to honor his dedication to the community while he is still alive to receive the honor.
“We tried to find something in Roan Mountain that we felt could be named for him. Most of the bridges are already taken,” Clark said.
During discussions with others, the idea of renaming Old Highway 143, which runs from Cloudland Drive past the old Cloudland Elementary School site to Highway 143, came up.
Clark circulated petitions around Roan Mountain gathering support from other residents and also got signatures and letters of support from the property owners along Old Highway 143 supporting the change. She presented those petitions and letters to the Highway Committee and requested the name change.
“I’d like to get this done before he gets to the point that he can’t enjoy something being done for him,” Clark said.
Highway Committee Chairman Mike Hill, who represents the Roan Mountain District on the Commission, noted numerous residents of the community supported renaming the road in honor of Julian.
Carter County Road Superintendant Roger Colbaugh said he also supported the name change, adding it could cut down on confusion for some motorists because of having Old Highway 143 and Highway 143.
The Highway Committee unanimously voted to present the road re-naming at a public hearing to be held during the group’s next meting on the first Monday in March. At the public hearing, residents will have a chance to voice their support or opposition to the road name change.
Following the public hearing the committee will make a decision, and if the change is approved it will be taken before the full Carter County Commission for final approval.

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