GATLINBURG, Tenn. (Dec. 16, 2016) -- The late Robert "Bobby" Alan Hejny was no stranger to disaster.
A landscape artist by trade, Hejny lived in Gulf Port, Miss., when Hurricane Katrina hit. His home and place of employment was destroyed.
His sister, Georgette Smith of North Carolina, said it was then that Hejny chose to relocate to Gatlinburg. That's also where he died – a victim of the Gatlinburg wildfires. He was 63.
John Clayton, who lost his home in the fire, met Hejny through the "Bread of Life" ministry at First United Methodist Church of Gatlinburg.
The intention of the ministry is to help those who live in weekly rental hotels with food and other necessities. Hejny didn't just accept the food donation. He became a volunteer.
"I have had responsibility for the program for the past seven years and the first time I went on a food delivery Robert volunteered to help deliver. That is how we met. After that I saw Robert every Tuesday and sometimes more frequently. We developed a bond," Clayton said.
Gatlinburg church reaches out to forgotten population (The Call/ Aug. 21, 2009)
Our complete coverage of the Sevier Co. wildfires