The Great Smoky Mountains have always been my mountains. From the days of my boyhood in Maryville, Tennessee, these mountains have been a tremendous source of pleasure and beauty. In a real sense, they have served as a metaphor for life, inseparable from who I am. My retreats to the Smoky Mountains have marked my fondest memories with family, friends, and loved ones.
I was saddened beyond words to see them on fire and to hear of the suffering, destruction, and death caused by the fires. But the forest will grow again; their majesty remains. The winter snow will cover the scorched earth and soon, with the warmth and sunshine of the spring, new green life will appear. Another generation will have the pleasure of enjoying this wonderful creation of God.
For now, our prayers and help go to those who have suffered loss and who have been hurt. Special plans have been made for The Crown College Choir to present a concert to raise funds for these dear people. With the grace of God, and with the aid of other members of our mountain family, we encourage our friends who have been through the fire to press on.