The recent explosion at South River Market in Rockbridge County has left the community in shock and tears. The victims and their families are continually in our thoughts and prayers, even robbing us of sleep. Only later will we realize the extent of this tragedy and everyone’s loss.

Roger Roberts, the owner, was quiet and unassuming. Yet his thoughtfulness knew no bounds. When my husband was in later stages of dementia, and still driving, Roger was kind enough to tell me when he came by the store so I could keep tabs on him. He was truly concerned for my husband’s well-being and whereabouts, just as I was. Roger even visited him in the nursing home several times. He was a caring person.

He was a good cook, also! He made different salads, my favorite being his chicken salad. His sandwiches, soups and other salads were favorites with many of his customers. But his hot dogs were at the top of most people’s wish list! People drove from town just to get one of Roger’s hot dogs.

The South River/Mountain View community will miss Roger and the other victims. Mountain View Elementary School is across the road and in view of the store. We teachers would “order” lunch from Roger on an almost-daily basis. Construction and other outdoor workers depended on him for their lunches and drinks. His was the only store in the neighborhood.

Yes, we have lost our friends at South River Market, but we can remember the good friendship and good food, and cherish the memories. May God bless the families and friends of Roger and the other victims.

— Ruby Leighton, a reader in Buena Vista

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