Leila S. Case: Rotary celebrates milestone anniversary

Published 10:11 pm Friday, November 9, 2018

Birthdays, anniversaries and the general election captured my attention this week along with a cable television issue that thankfully is resolved.
Because of this electronic issue, we couldn’t watch election results. We relied on the Internet and I changed sites constantly to get the latest results.
I love politics as much as I love fried chicken, collards, and cornbread. Being a part of the action is exciting and for many years covering election night returns was part of my responsibilities when I was on the editorial staff at the Americus Times-Recorder. I don’t miss the long hours waiting at the county courthouse until all hours for returns then going home in the wee hours and rising at dawn to get back to the office. Despite all that, I miss being a part of it all.
Election 2018 saw one of the best voter turnouts in Sumter County in many years. We voted mid-morning at the GSW Golf and Conference Center (formerly Americus Country Club) and we were in and out in 40 minutes even though the lines were long. Poll workers kept things moving.
I recall the Nov. 2, 1976, general election when Democrat Jimmy Carter of Plains ran against Republican Gerald Ford of Michigan and our designated polling place was the Sumter County Fair Ground. It was a bright, sunny day and the lines were so long, they snaked all over the place and voters were sitting on the banks of the property.
As I write, the Georgia gubernatorial race is still undecided and we’re all patiently waiting to hear the outcome. I’m hopeful it has been decided by now though. Whoever wins the state’s top slot Georgians will survive.
Meanwhile, the Americus Rotary Club celebrated its 100th anniversary at a gala dinner-dance at the John M. Pope Center on the campus of South Georgia Technical College last Saturday evening.
President Jimmy Whaley, members and their spouses paid tribute to the dedicated service the organization has provided on the local, national, and international levels through the years. The Rotary Club of Americus (District 6900) was organized on Aug. 7, 1918, and chartered on Nov. 18, 1918.
Seated at tables centered with beautiful floral arrangements created by Cindy Pryor and her committee, attendees enjoyed a delicious surf and turf dinner followed by an outstanding program that was like a history lesson on achievements during the past 100 years.
Thurston Clary, master of ceremonies, welcomed everyone and introduced speakers, all former presidents who gave highlights of activities over a five-year period. They are: Dr. Lou Riccardi (1975-1980; Earl Gammage (1980-1985); Ricky Arnold (1985-1990); Russ Childers (1990-1995); Steve Stanfield (1995-2000); Sybil Smith (2000-2005); Thurston Clary (2005-2010), and Jaclyn Donovan (2010-2015. Whaley presented the future of Rotary.
District Govenor Court Dowiss presented Whaley with a framed certificate from District 6900 and a read a congratulatory letter from Rotary International President Barry Rassin. Afterward, the Old Soul band from Macon provided musical entertainment.
Attending were Dowiss, District Governor-Elect Jim Squire, Past District Governor Alec Smythe and wife Donna, Past District Governor Cheryl Greenway, Past District Governor Steve Stanfield and wife Jeannie, Grant Buckley (president of the Cordele Rotary Club), Jimmy and Morgan Whaley, Danny and Lisa Adkins, Justin and Rachel Arnold, Peter Banse, Russ Childers, Thurston and Gail Clary, Jim and Vicki Covington, Jack and Jaclyn Donovan, George and Betty Ellis, Marion and Virginia Franklin, Earl and Barbara Gammage and daughter Carla Cook, Dr. Schley and Karen Gatewood, Hank and Kimberly Hart, Sam and Reba Hunter, Brent and Kathryn Moore, Kenny and Teresa Phillips, Cindy Pryor, Dr. Lou and Candy Riccardi, Reda and Kelly Rowell, Don and Sybil Smith, and Rene and Angela Smith
Elsewhere, we enjoyed a family birthday celebration last week. Reid Shivers, son of Aaron and Brook Shivers, and grandson of Andy and Lori Shivers, celebrated his third birthday with family and friends at a festive party that included a hay ride at his home in Leesburg. And Jana Carter of Plains celebrated her birthday at dinner hosted by her children, and mother Sybil Carter, at the Windsor Hotel’s Rosemary & Thyme.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.