Quarry helps build rock-solid relationships

Annual race is just some of the help Hedrick Industries offers its neighbors

Fred McCormick

On the surface the Rock the Quarry 5K, which returns to Grove Stone & Sand on Saturday, Sept. 17 for its ninth year, is a demanding race that takes place over a unique terrain.

However, what can be found a little deeper is the rock-solid relationship between the quarry’s owner, Hedrick Industries and the race’s two beneficiaries, Black Mountain Home for Children and the Asheville Museum of Science.

Hedrick Industries has owned the quarry adjacent to the Black Mountain Home for Children since 1954. Sarah Thomas, the vice president of finance and development for BMH said the organization couldn't ask for better neighbors.

"In addition to a property line, we share a passion for helping children," Thomas said. "Their on-going support has made an impact year after year and it’s reassuring to know that they’ve made such a strong commitment to supporting our youth."

Residents of the Black Mountain Home for Children participate in Rock the Quarry each year free of charge.

From 2013-2015 Rock the Quarry raised over $61,000 for the children's home, according to race director and vice president of Hedrick Industries' material sales team in Western North Carolina, Jon Neumann.

"We've been able to do that through the incredible generosity of our sponsors," Neumann said.

But Thomas said the company's willingness to help its neighbors goes far beyond the annual race.

"In June we signed a long-term lease with the state of NC to use a former 4-H camp adjacent to our property to develop vocational programs for older youth," Thomas said. "Already, (Hedrick Industries) has agreed to partner with us in supplying granite materials as we make upgrades and add new facilities to help youth who would typically age out of the foster care system look toward building a strong future."

Neumann said it's important for Hedrick Industries to support a program like BMH, since "their organization does tremendous work in the community and they give the kids all of the tools that they need to succeed."

Grove Stone's neighbors are the primary beneficiaries of Rock the Quarry each year, but the growth of the race has allowed it to have a significant impact on the newly named Asheville Museum of Science (formerly Colburn Earth Science Museum).

Hedrick Industries has a relationship with the museum that spans a few decades, according to Neumann, who has been the president of the museum's board for three years.

"Hedrick sees a lot of value in the good work that the Colburn/AMOS does for the students of Western North Carolina," Neumann said. "The education that the Museum provides compliments the curriculum in the schools and provides a venue for hands on learning."

An artist's rendering shows what the hall of minerals exhibit will look like at the Asheville Museum of Science's new location.

Rock the Quarry has raised nearly $20,000 for the museum over the course of the last two years, according to Neumann. But the museum's president Anna Priest said Hedrick Industries has had an even larger impact, giving money to help with its Spotlight Campaign.

"Hedrick Industries contributed $50,000 toward our campaign," she said. "And that's on top of what they have already given us from the race."

The campaign was started to raise $1.3 million for the museum's move from its former location in Pack Square to the Wells Fargo building. The move will allow AMOS to grow by establishing a presence at street level and creating room for more exhibits.

The museum's new location will feature the Colburn Hall of Minerals, a permanent exhibit that will maintain the Colburn legacy. There will also be a dinosaur.

"We will have a replica of a dinosaur as the centerpiece of the main exhibit hall," Priest said. "It's a replica of an ancestor of the T. Rex."

Priest points out that none of the improvements to the museum would be possible without community partners like the one that puts on Rock the Quarry every year.

"Hedrick Industries has been a champion for the museum for a long time," Priest said. "They really sparked our campaign last year and all of the public support they have shown us has been tremendous."

The Rock the Quarry 5K takes runner through an active quarry at Grove Stone & Sand in Black Mountain.