“God bless the broken road” could well be Jewel Reed’s theme song. Her childhood was far from typical. Born in New York City, her family moved to Roanoke when Jewel was 4 years old when her father got a job helping to build the Skyline Drive. It was while on the job he soon died of a tragic accident.
Jewel, her mother and a brother moved in first with one grandmother, then another, and then because of financial hardships, her mom placed Jewel and her brother in a foster care kind of arrangement in Clearbrook, south of Roanoke, when Jewel was 5-12 years old. Finally, her mother, now remarried, was able to take Jewel and her brother back.
What perhaps sustained Jewel during her formative years was the music she carried in her heart. She recalls long hours of singing to herself and to this day, Jewel can come up with a movie title to fit any occasion. (Her one singing performance was at age 14 when she entered a “Tots and Teens” contest at Heironimus in Roanoke.) (PS. How many of us know that Jewel was once in a Miss Roanoke Beauty Contest?)
In her early twenties, Jewel met a Navy man named Charlie who was to become her husband. They eventually moved to New York City and two sons, Eddie and Robert, and a daughter, Margery were born. Charlie died suddenly of an aneurysm in 1991 and in 1997, Jewel and her children moved back to Roanoke.
In looking for a church, Jewel visited Trinity one Sunday when Troy Kincer was preaching during Pastor Lane’s absence and she happened to sit by Lori, his wife. “That’s my husband up there,” Lori told Jewel, who then decided Trinity was her church.
Jewel has been one of Trinity’s most active volunteers. She has fulfilled many different roles, but chief among them have been her long-standing leadership of both the Thrift Shop and Helping Hands.
Yes, there were breaks in the road Jewel traveled but the best period of her life was yet to come. She met up with an ex-Marine she used to date in her early years. On October 16, 2010, she and Jack Reed were married and the two became Trinity’s love couple. Sadly, Jack died a year ago. Though her heart was broken, Jewel still believes she sees Jack at times in the shape of clouds, which keeps her looking up.
God bless the open road that sometimes leads us to the love of our life, but in all cases to a homecoming that beats all homecomings.