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Leila S. Case: Junior Service League leads the way

Today, the Junior Service League of Americus honors its 2016 provisional class and honorary members at the annual spring luncheon. An always very special and festive event, provisionals will be introduced and welcomed by Christie Umbleby, president, and the board of directors at the John M. Pope Center on the Americus campus of South Georgia Technical College.
A few years ago, the league veered from its long-time tradition of featuring a fashion show as the after-lunch entertainment to a guest speaker that in my opinion was a refreshing change —  always a good thing. This year the program features Georgia’s own Virginia Willis, renowned cookbook author who has her own television cooking program. Years ago, she stopped in at the T-R offices during a whirlwind tour through the state. I look forward to seeing her again and buying one of her books.
Also, a special note of interest for me this year is that Lauren Shivers Vann, our granddaughter and daughter of honorary Lori Case Shivers and Andy Shivers, is among the 19 provisionals. She’ll make a great member.
Founded in 1937, and currently in its 69th year, the league is perhaps the largest all volunteer organization in the community. I never cease to be amazed by these women who through the years and their efforts so willingly dedicate countless hours of their time to the community to make this a better place to live.
Last year alone, the 43 active members contributed a whopping 4,100 hours through seven service committees. That in itself is amazing and phenomenal. Areas benefiting from these volunteer efforts are Magnolia Manor, education, community health, Breezeway, Sumter Humane Society, Methodist Youth Home and Silver and Spice.
Through several annual fundraisers, Cowpoke Carnival and the Mighty Machines, the league operates on an annual budget of approximately $80,000 of which all monies remain in Sumter County. Besides they award a $500 annual scholarship to an incoming freshman at Georgia Southwestern State University, the child of an active or honorary member with a 3.0 grade point average.
Serving on the board with Umbleby are first vice president Patty Fennessy M.D., co-chair Kimberly Hart; second vice president Ashlee Parks, co-chair Holly Mitchell; third vice president Mackenzie Greene, co-chair Emilee Roland; recording secretary Angie Brunson; corresponding secretary Lauren Shemwell; treasurer Christie Stribling; assistant treasurer Michelle Andrews; sergeant-at-arms Sandy Exley; parliamentarian Mercedes Aldridge; entertainment chair Megan Scott and co-chair Felicia Harper; past president Jessi Simmons.
Tonight league members and friends will dance the night away to the music of The Buck Creek Band at the GSW Golf and Conference Center. Other events to mark are May 21 The Mighty Machines fundraiser at the Sumter County Parks and Recreation’s ball field; Bunco night June 16 at the Lee Council House, and the always family fun event, Cowpoke Carnival Oct. 1 at the Fairgrounds.
So let’s stand and give the Americus Junior Service League a hardy round of applause, applause, applause.
Out and about: When Linda Fuller Degelmann turned 75 this year, she didn’t want anything for herself. Instead, she chose to celebrate her year by raising $75,000 to build houses for people in need. As part of the celebration, Linda, known as “The First Lady of Affordable Housing,” was honored Sunday, April 10, at a marvelous event at the Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. Friends from around the country, as well as son Chris Fuller, his wife Dianne, and daughter Georgia Fuller, and her daughters, along with Americus friends attended, including June and David Ewing, Karen and Schley Gatewood, Wendy and Pat Peacock, Sheila and David Snell, and Wendy and Juan Castillo.
“Linda stories” were shared and the Ewings led the group in singing the happy birthday song. The Rev. Wendy Peacock gave a prayer of thanksgiving for Linda’s service to mankind.
Linda, co-founder of both Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center, is still swinging hammers on Fuller Center job sites to this day. You can help her celebrate her 75th birthday by sending a check to the FCH, P.O. Box 523, Americus, Georgia, or by donating online atfullercenter.org/#Linda75. More than $56,000 has already been donated. A silent auction is being held online during the month of April. Donated items can be seen and bids made at thefullercenter.org/#Linda75.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.