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Greenback man renovates train depot

3:08 PM, Nov 27, 2012   |    comments
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An historic landmark that had fallen into disrepair has a new look and a new purpose thanks to an East Tennessee man on a mission.

The structure was built in 1919 and served as a train depot in downtown Greenback.

Over the years it housed different businesses, suffered from neglect, and an overgrown lot.

"We've done the exterior of it had a red roof on it. The paint was all gone," Ron Edmondson explained.

He bought the property last February and started repairs.

"Our goal in Greenback, as everyone knows because I tell them when I see them, we want to put its Sunday clothes back on it," he said.

Now the depot hosts birthdays, dances, craft shows and free live music on Thursday and Saturday nights.

"We're going to make Greenback a beautiful place," he said.

The depot has come a long way and so has Ron Edmondson. He was diagnosed with a serious health decision three years ago.

"My daughter had decided that some people were telling her that I wasn't acting normal. I said I've never acted normal so what's the news there," he said. "Took me to the emergency room. It took then about 30 minutes to do a brain scan and they found a golf ball and a half on the left side of my head."

Next came surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

"They said maximum chemo and maximum radiation and we can probably get you three months. That was three years ago," he said.

He lost his hair.

"I told the Lord if He would let me re-grow my hair I promised never to cut it. I didn't realize what I was getting into when I made that statement. But He let me and I've got it and you better like it because it's going to stay," he said.

Now he devotes most days to renovating the old depot.

"He's given me the opportunity with the cancer I've got to give something back to Greenback that they didn't have when I started," he said. "God done it all. Let's not give me credit for anything."

The old depot has a new purpose and so does Ron Edmondson.

"I tell every person that I see, and you can ask them, I love you and I do," he said.

He loves Greenback and he's working to make it a more beautiful place.

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