A Tribute to John Bland

Published 2:50 pm Friday, November 18, 2022

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I first met John Bland and his brother through their frequent attendance of the Carter County Commission meetings. Now both of these community minded men, sadly, have passed this life. John called one evening while I was at Bemberg watching the load of guitars being reloaded minus the units that were to stay at Bemberg. John related that he wanted to start giving guitar lessons to children at the Elizabethton Boys and Girls Club. His problem — the club nor he had guitars. A few days later, myself and Mayor Leon Humphrey carried seven units to John at the club. John was a master instructor as well as a very talented musician, who had his own band on and off over the years. In today’s society it isn’t often that you find a person who will donate their time to help others. The last time I heard John Bland play and sing was at the funeral service of Erik Anderson, another “go the extra mile volunteer.” He sang “Dust in the Wind,” a song written by a member of the group Kansas and recorded about 1978 by this group. The lyrics related how life is for the living and that upon death, a life and the deeds of a person’s life will eventually be forgotten.
John Bland needs to be remembered especially since he was one who knew through his long-term illness that he would return to dust, yet he pushed forward in his mission to help the animals through his impressive support and fundraising efforts for the Carter County Animal Shelter.
John Bland, your life was much more than “Dust in the Wind.” Rest in peace my friend.

Charles A. Von Cannon
Central Community

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