BRCO Newsletters On-line

Bethel Rural Community Organization's Education Committee annually grants awards to students at Bethel Elementary, Bethel Middle, and Pisgah High School.

BETHEL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ACADEMIC AWARDS in reading and math go to fifth-grade students with the highest end-of-year test scores:

Reading – Fain Burnette and Victoria Bauer

Math – Lilie Cordova and Arley Messer

Allie Messer - Bethel Middle School David Cuphey Citizenship Award Recipient

BRCO News and Events


The David Cuphey Citizenship Award recipient was chosen by eighth grade teachers who selected on the basis on attitude, behavior, civic mindedness, and treating others with care and respect. Eighth grade teachers who made the selection were Kevin Collins, Julie Green, Amy Harrington, and Ron Hundley. The student received $50.

David Cuphey Citizenship Award

Addison Messer


BRCO's Education Committee selects the winner of the $1,000 scholarship based on applications of graduating high school seniors who reside in Bethel Community.  The 2022 recipient was selected because of his accomplishments in wide-ranging areas of competence.  A talented athlete and captain of the football team, the winner will continue his football career at Carson Newman University in Tennessee where he will major in exercise science. Even though the student had a successful athletic career that also included wrestling and track, the scholar placed equal emphasis on his academic life, with a cumulative weighted GPA of 4.2885, excelling in honors classes in English, History, and STEM courses.  Extra-curricular activities included servant leader at Crestview Baptist Church, assisting with flood relief clean-up, National Honor Society, Unified Sports, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, United Student Conference, and Generosity Feeds.  Even though he maintained a heavy scholastic and athletic schedule, he was employed at Chestnut Ridge Wedding Venue, worked at lawn maintenance and landscaping, and  performed duties with WNC Stump Grinding.  

BRCO Scholarship Winner

Gabe Nussman

Tropical Storm Fred made its way from Florida to the Western North Carolina mountains to create disaster for eastern Haywood County.  Some of the hardest hit areas in terms of destruction and loss of life were the Bethel and Cruso communities.  On Tuesday, August 17, waters poured from the high mountains, tearing a pathway through the rural Cruso area, ripping houses from their foundations, propelling vehicles down the river, and creating human misery with five confirmed deaths and one still missing. Hundreds of millions of dollars in damages occurred in a matter of hours.  Many families have become homeless, with 225 structures destroyed.

To support victims, numerous churches and organizations have assisted the command center at Bethel Baptist Church with food/clothing distribution.  Bethel Rural Community Organization (BRCO) will be a collection center for donations for those who wish to contribute.  BRCO has established a “Flood Relief Fund” designated to accept donations.  BRCO's Benevolence Committee is spearheading the effort, and the committee is developing criteria for fund disbursement.

For those who wish to donate to the Flood Relief Fund, please make checks payable to BRCO, PO Box 1333, Waynesville, NC 28786.  Please indicate “Flood Relief Fund” on the check.  BRCO's website can also accept Pay pal donations: donations page   

Gabe Nussman - BRCO Scholarship Winner

Bethel Rural Community Organization Establishes Flood Relief Fund

for Fred Victims

BRCO’s Historic Preservation Committee and Evelyn Coltman are receiving the North Carolina Society of Historians Multi-Media Award for our collection of twenty-four art prints that are on display in our dining hall and are also featured on our website.  Due to COVID-19, the ceremony will be conducted in January via Zoom.  Out of hundreds of submittals, BRCO is one of forty recipients to receive NCSH recognition.   Congratulations!!

The art prints are by artist Jason Hawkins who is a Bethel native and a 1995 cum laude graduate (Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art and Historic Preservation) of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia.  Hawkins is a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, but is still passionate about painting historic Haywood County homes.  Historic Preservation members are holding (left to right)  three of Hawkins' paintings donated by his mother: Joseph Turner and Martha Anna Iva Killian Cathey House (started in 1860 and finished by 1864), James Henry and Flora Kinsland Plott House (built in 1904), and the Pingree Priestly and Charity Haseltine Osborne Plott House (built in 1867),   Prints of the paintings are available through the BRCO website.

BRCO's Historic Preservation Committee Receives Award

Members of the BRCO Historic

Preservation Committee

presenting the award to Verda

Davis (daughter of Mack Ledbetter).

Pictured left to right: Ted Carr,

Carol Litchfiedl, Evelyn Coltman,

Verda Davis, Frances Adamson, and

Bill Terrell

Mack Ledbetter

Pigeon Valley Award for Historic Preservation

Bethel Rural Community Organization (BRCO) honored Mack Ledbetter with a posthumous award for his years-long research of rail lines, logging outposts, and memorabilia from Sunburst Logging Village that resulted in the creation of an impressive map that details key locations that existed on the West Fork of the Pigeon River from the early 1900s through 1925 when a massive fire decimated the historic site.  The Ledbetter family donated the Sunburst map to BRCO's Historic Preservation Committee for its art print collection, and the map has become the most frequently requested art print in the selection.

Accepting the award for her father at the September 13th BRCO meeting, Verda Davis, relayed a fascinating narrative (created by Verda and sister Lorna) about her father's intense interest in history, dating from age fourteen with his treks up Cold Mountain to examine the aftermath of the Cold Mountain bomber crash that occurred on September 13, 1946. Ledbetter travelled and studied the mountains throughout the region, honing his expertise of the area with an undying love of the terrain. He volunteered for the Forest Service, trimmed trails, and was presented with his own key to the Cradle of Forestry.  He loved to hike and often took people to popular outlying sites in the area.  Former newscaster, Bob Caldwell, featured Ledbetter in his special about waterfalls in the mountain.  Kathy Ross with The Mountaineer interviewed him in 1997 in the midst of the creation of his map.  A craftsman and collector, Ledbetter's meticulously detailed map is the culmination of his legacy that allows him to continue to be revered in local historical circles.  

Bethel Rural Community Organization Awards and Scholarships