Bethel Rural Community Organization has been fortunate to receive numerous local, regional, state, and national recognitions.

Bethel Rural Community Organization Awards

BRCO - National Honors

  • WNC Council of Community Clubs second highest award - Community of Promise - 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • WNC Council of Community Clubs highest award - Community of Distinction - 2007, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Award was granted for the group’s attention to the policies and procedures that serve to preserve and interpret Southern Appalachian history and culture. - 2014
  • Blue Ridge National Heritage Area granted site designation on the BRNHA Heritage Trail (one of 70 in the region and 3 in Haywood County) for BRCO’s documentation of the community’s agriculture, Cherokee, and natural heritage. - 2016
  • Catch the Spirit of Appalachia recorded two interviews with BRCO for Western Carolina University’s historical archives. - 2014
  • A University of North Carolina – Asheville ethnography honors research study by Ginger Kowal focused on BRCO’s rural preservation efforts. The project, To Keep and Preserve, concentrated on Bethel’s determination and vision to preserve rural lands and farming heritage. - 2007
  • Blue Ridge National Heritage Area awarded BRCO as overseer of the application process for Francis Mill to receive the National Register of Historic Places. – 2013

  • BRCO nominated Evelyn Coltman, Historic Preservation Committee chair, who received the North Carolina Society of Historians' Barringer Award of Excellence for six books documenting Bethel History: Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain. - 2010
  • BRCO’s Historic Preservation Committee and members received the North Carolina Society of Historians' Paul Green Multi-Media Award for Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us DVD. – 2012
  • BRCO’s Historic Preservation Committee and members received the North Carolina Society of Historians' Multi-Media Award for the From New College to Springdale DVD. - 2016
  • Preservation NC granted the Gertrude S. Carraway Award to Francis Mill as a result of BRCO’s nomination of the Francis Mill Preservation Society and Tanna Timber for restoration of the 1887 grist mill. - 2010

  • BRCO’s community center became a site on the Haywood County Quilt Trail. Designed by the Historic Preservation Committee, the Pigeon Valley quilt block features designs that symbolize the many names of Bethel. - 2013
  • BRCO’s Rural Preservation Committee received Haywood Waterways Association’s Pigeon River Award for assistance with eight permanent land conservation easements totaling 268 acres of land, including 50 acres of floodplain and 12,000 feet of stream and river frontage. -2013
  • For a number of years BRCO has been recognized by Buy Haywood on its Agri-Tourism Map that has a 10,000 distribution. BRCO has contributed to the success of Buy Haywood as a program that promotes local agricultural products and a continuation of a sustainable agriculture culture in Bethel and Haywood County.
  • Haywood County Arts Council recognized BRCO’s Historic Preservation Committee’s collection of paintings/drawings/photographs of historic sites in Bethel in its Appalachian Heritage presentation that included the month-long Mountain Made show, its Appalachian Lifestyles weekend display, and its Art After Dark event - 2014

  • BRCO’s Half Marathon is the oldest half marathon in the state and the third oldest in the Southeast. The race is USATF #NC12099Ph certified so that runners can set national time records.
  • Coordinated the process for listing Francis Mill on the National Register of Historic Places

BRCO - Regional Honors


  • John Deere’s Furrow Magazine, circulated internationally, featured BRCO’s former chair of the Rural Preservation Committee who discussed BRCO’s farmland preservation efforts in a 2016 issue.

BRCO - State Honors

BRCO - Haywood County Honors