The family of Bruce Childress, a noted local supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, is staging a benefit event Saturday in the hopes those he helped through his years of service will feel moved to return the favor.
“He was a Boy Scout troop leader for more than 20 years,” said Childress’ nephew, Jonathan Bledsoe. “He’s also known locally for his support of southern gospel and bluegrass gospel music.” He said more than seven weeks ago his uncle, who works in the maintenance department of Hugh Chatham Hospital, suffered a stroke while at home — relatives had to break into his home to render aid.
He reports Childress is doing alright in a rehabilitation center in Elkin.
“He can point, write and wave his hands and move his feet,” said Bledsoe. “The part of his brain hit by the stroke is telling his body he is tired and has to sleep. All of a sudden, bam, it happened. The doctors have said it could take months for his brain to heal. He has opened his eyes once and waved at me.”
Bledsoe said Childress is also known for his faithfulness to his church, Mount Pleasant Baptist. Childress is single and has one grown son, Alan, with a family of his own.
“He is an avid coon hunter with Blue Tick Hounds,” Bledsoe said. “One night when I was little we crossed the river and got lost trying to find the dogs.” He explained that his father was killed in a car accident when he was 9 years old. Knowing the boys were the same age, Childress made a point of stepping in and including Bledsoe in anything he did with his son, Alan, because the boys would share interests.
“Alan and I are like brothers,” Bledsoe said. “My uncle has always been a father figure for me. Bruce is the kind who would go the extra mile and wouldn’t ask for anything. If his condition permits we’re thinking of bringing him there Saturday and letting him listen to the music. We know a lot of people want to see him but haven’t wanted to bother him at the hospital.”
Bledsoe praised the efforts of relative Dena Cave and Edna Jean Stanley for spearheading the benefit. It will be held at Fisher River Park on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with all proceeds going to help with Childress’ medical expenses.
According to Cave, Childress has also touched many lives through Boy Scout programs, at Raven Knob Scout Reservation and working at Camp E-Mun-Talee, the former Eckerd camp in Lowgap that closed.
Bluegrass gospel and southern gospel music, concessions (hot dogs, BBQ and desserts) and silent auction items will be featured. Some of the items for the auction include various gift baskets for movies, the Booneville Mill, overnight stays at hotels, furniture, crafts, much more.
Bands tentatively set to perform are Jerusalem Way, Rich in Tradition, New Vision, Baker and Son, Stoney Ridge Band, Double Overtime and Ray Edwards and Hard Rock Mountain. Admission is $5 in advance, $7 at gate.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.