Carter County dedicates Roan Mountain bridge after Jim and Edna Potter

After a lifetime of service to their community through education, the late Jim and Edna Potter will now have a bridge named in their honor this weekend.

On Sunday, October 28, Carter County will come together and dedicate the bridge spanning Doe River in Roan Mountain in honor of Jim and Edna Potter, lifetime teachers in Carter County. Mr. Potter died in 2002, and Mrs. Potter died in 2015.

Charles Von Cannon, who grew up with Edna Potter, said the decision to dedicate the bridge to them occurred before the bridge actually existed.

“We knew the bridge was going to be built,” Von Cannon said. “So, we decided to dedicate the bridge once it was built.”

The first proposal to dedicate the future bridge was presented several years ago, Von Cannon said. Last year, on September 18, the resolution officially naming the future bridge after the Potters was signed.

The process of dedicating a bridge takes time and community involvement. Von Cannon said the proposal goes up for public approval.

“Some member of the county highway committee proposes it,” he said. “There is a public hearing, where people can agree or disagree with the person they chose, or even propose other names.”

Von Cannon said sometimes, if there is an even split of opinion, each side of a bridge will be dedicated to a different person.

“Normally the bridges are dedicated to community service people, or deceased or surviving veterans,” Von Cannon said. “Most of the bridges are in honor of deceased veterans.”

Jim and Edna Potter served as teachers in Carter County for decades, and Von Cannon said they had a strong sense of community involvement.

“[Mrs. Potter] was involved in Ms Watauga Valley Pageant, which feeds into Ms Tennessee Pageant,” he said.

Mr. Potter served a number of years in the school system, including full-time teaching and as a teaching principal. He also served in the Construction Battalion for two or three years during World War II.

Von Cannon said his familial relationship was not the reason he wanted the bridge dedicated to them.

“I would have done it even if they were not kin to me,” he said.

Sunday’s dedication will take place at Lower Shell Creek Christian Church, starting at 2 p.m. The Potters’ former pastor will speak during the event, as will one of their former students.

The dedication is open to the public.

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