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In the schoolyard in the 1930s. Mr. Burgin is third row, second from the left.

In the schoolyard in the 1920s. Mr. Burgin is third row, second from the left.

Willard Burgin makes his home on land originally cleared by his great-grandfather in the upper reaches  of the Crooked Creek community, barely this side of the Buncombe County line.  He’s just up the road from the old Mount Hebron Bible Institute where his parents met and where he briefly went to school himself.  Nestled peacefully at the foot of the mountain, his home is a refuge from the rush of the modern world.  We visited there for almost two hours, and only one car passed the entire time!
Mr. Burgin proudly displays his medals from WWII.

Mr. Burgin proudly displays his medals from WWII.

Mr. Burgin is a treasure-trove of memories and stories:  from cutting wood for the tannery in Old Fort when he was a child, to seeking emergency assistance from the “snake doctor”, to searching the hillside behind his house so he could milk the family cow, to planting by the signs, to loading ammunition boats in Iceland during World War II.

Listen to our conversation with Willard Burgin here:

(It may take a moment for the audio to load.)

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