Bedford County’s biggest yard sale is a year-long effort

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By John Barnhart

    Members of Resurrection Catholic Church hold what is probably Bedford County’s biggest yard sale every year.

    Called Joyous Junque, the two-day sale is held on the first full weekend of June every year with 30 percent of the proceeds going to the church’s outreach programs and 70 percent going to local charities. This year, they passed out $48,000 to 25 charities, all but one of which are in either Franklin or Bedford County.
    That’s a pretty big yard sale!
    According to Jim Urban who, along with his wife and “a lot of help from a lot of different people,” runs the programs, this is actually a year-long effort. They are already collecting items to sell next year.
    “Tuesday morning we have several trailers,” Urban said.
    About a dozen men go out with these trailers to pick up heavy items and bring them back to be stored for next year’s sale. About a half-dozen women show up Tuesdays to sort and pack smaller items. When the day of the big yard sale comes, 135 people show up to run it.
    Joyous Junque has come a long way from its start in 1986 when the yard sale netted $3,000.
    “It has gone up every year in increments,” Urban said.
    In spite of his New York accent, Urban was born in Kentucky and grew up in Illinois. He picked up the accent during his more than 30 years living on Long Island. The fact that his wife is a native New Yorker may have also helped.
    Urban is a Navy veteran, serving from 1959-1963 as an electronics technician.
    “I spent almost my first year in the Navy going to school,” he said.
    He pulled sea duty aboard the USS MacDonough (DLG-8). He was a plank owner, meaning he was part of the ships commissioning crew.  Later, he worked on the Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH) Program, a remote controlled anti-submarine helicopter intended to operate from destroyers.
    “The helo, itself, was never that reliable,” he commented. Urban said it ultimately became obsolete before all the bugs were worked out.
    After the Navy, Urban went to work for Northrop Grumman, working on aircraft computers, and that’s what took him to Long Island and kept him there for three decades. After retiring, he and his wife moved to Smith Mountain Lake in 1999.
    One of the first people he met after moving here invited him to come help out at Resurrections’ Tuesday work days. Then, another guy said to him, “How would you like to work with the Joyous Junquers?” Urban agreed and started out with the pick-up crew.
    “We have a lot of fun doing it,” he said.
    If you have a large object to donate to Joyous Junque, call 297-4126 , if you live in Bedford County, or 719-2117, if you live in Franklin County. Smaller items may be dropped off at the church.