By Peggy Mackenzie
Overlooking the town of Rainelle up on Sims Mountain, the Star of Rainelle has shone down upon the residents every Christmas since the early 1960’s when it was first erected. During the Easter season, a lighted cross replaces the star. For the past two or three years, the crews who usually replace the lights for the star and cross have complained that the poles have given way to rot, and the access up the poles is no longer safe. Without the needed repairs, the town had to do without their traditional lights.
Rainelle Mayor Andrea “Andy” Pendleton determined to take on the project of rebuilding the town’s star, even though the city budget didn’t include funds to replace the poles supporting the star and cross.
“From the very beginning of this project was the realization that the three 53-foot power poles were not stable and would have to be replaced,” Pendleton said. “I called Scott Yates, a technical supervisor with Frontier Communications based in Lewisburg and within a few weeks the Frontier crew came with three new power poles, supplies, experience and smiles.”
They replaced the power poles at no charge to the town. Thus, the project began, but there were still hurdles to be leaped and funds to be found.
According to Pendleton, the town’s street department employees took on the project by redesigning and constructing a new star and cross. The star, she said, is quite large and had to be built in five separate sections. Mike Stout, Dusty Morello, Gary Wykle and Tommy Lewis “did a job well done with pride in their work,” Pendleton said.
A large number of businesses and individuals came forward and gave generously, and without them, this project would not have been possible. The list (in no particular order) includes: Dr. D. K. Cales, K&G Tires, Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home, Lowe’s, Randy and Andy Pendleton, Smather’s Funeral Home, VFW Ladies Auxillary, Rainelle Lion’s Club, Doreen Goddard, Trinity New Covenant Church, Rainelle, Gorden Lewis, and Sandy’s Hot Spot. Others, like the Frontier crew, volunteered their services: electrician Fred Copen, and Steve Carr of 5-Star Inspection.
Once again the star shines full and bright, announcing the reason for the season. Pendleton offered the following sentiment filled with gratitude: “May the star shine bright above our town for everyone who passes through.”