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Rogersville Civitan Club will host celebration picnic, membership drive on Thursday

The Rogersville Civitan Club will host a celebration picnic and membership drive / reorganizational meeting on Thursday, October 21, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Rogersville Recreation Park.

This is a free event. Anyone interested in joining the Civitan Club, or anyone who wants to learn more about the organization, is encouraged to attend. Free hotdogs, hamburgers and drinks will be served.

About the Civitans
The Rogersville Civitan Club is an affiliate of Civitan International, which was founded in Birmingham in 1917 by a group of businessmen who wanted to make a difference in the community. The effort was led by Courtney Shropshire, a local physician. The group named their new organization Civitan, derived from the Latin word civitas (citizenship).

In June 1921, the Civitans’ first international convention was held in Birmingham. More than 300 delegates representing 30 clubs were in attendance.

In the 1950s, Civitans adopted a special emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities. Civitan International was one of the major early supporters of the international Special Olympics.

According to Civitan International, Civitans “help wherever the need arises – from collecting food for a homeless shelter, to volunteering at their local retirement home, to building a playground for children with disabilities.”

Today there are more than 40,000 Civitan Club members in dozens of countries.

Rogersville Civitans: A History of Service
The Rogersville Civitan Club was chartered on March 4, 1927.

Almost two decades earlier, the Alabama Legislature passed an act mandating the establishment of public high schools in each of the state’s counties. Rogersville was chosen as the site for Lauderdale County’s high school.

The high school was initially housed in a two-story building. This building was destroyed by fire in 1926. After the Rogersville Civitan Club was chartered in 1927, members went to work securing a location and pledging $10,000 to go toward the construction of a new school building. A total of $17,000 was raised by citizens to go toward the $30,000 construction cost.

Ten years later, a member of the LCHS Class of 1939, Tommy Walker, an active member of Rogersville Civitans, was presented with the group’s first Good Citizenship Award.

Over the years, the Rogersville Civitan Club has supported special education classes at local schools; the Little Red School House project at LCHS; the Sav-A-Life Foundation; and scholarships for LCHS students.

Rogersville Civitans have also sent students to the Youth Leadership Summit at Harding University and supported a Junior Civitan Club at LCHS.

Rogersville’s Junior Civitan Club was one of the first three Junior Civitan clubs to be chartered by the national organization. Several official Junior Civitan clubs were formed between 1927 and 1932, but the first three Junior Civitan club charters were issued in 1932.

Local Civitan service projects have included the Adopt-A-Mile trash pickup program and the annual Rogersville Community Clean-Up Week.

Rogersville Civitans still periodically present a Good Citizenship Award in recognition of an individual’s service to the community.

Fundraising efforts are undertaken through the sale of Claxton brand fruit cakes and Vidalia onions, along with peppermint candy/coin boxes at area businesses.

A little more than 20 years ago, the Rogersville Civitan Club led a major grassroots effort to raise money to help the Rogersville Emergency Ambulance Unit purchase a new ambulance. Civitan members undertook a mail fundraising campaign, keeping track of $25 individual pledges, following up with donors and successfully raising around $18,000 to go toward the purchase of a new ambulance in 2000. This became an annual fundraising effort in support of the ambulance unit.

Another project of particular note undertaken by Rogersville Civitans was the building of a gazebo at the Freedom House, a local residential treatment program for women. Prior to this, the facility’s residents had no such outdoor activity area/shelter. Additionally, Civitans installed playground equipment on the Freedom House grounds for children of residents.

More recently, Rogersville Civitans constructed covered bus stops/shelters for children at apartment complexes on Lamb’s Ferry Road.

Current Rogersville Civitan Club President Tom Thompson says becoming a Civitan would be a very worthy investment of time for anyone who has ideas on helping the community.

“The October 21 event at the park is really a reorganizational meeting,” noted Mr. Thompson. “We are looking for new people with their own ideas on how to help the community. Being a Civitan is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with others and put ideas into action in service to the community.”

After a hiatus from regular meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Rogersville Civitan Club will resume meeting on the second and fourth Thursday of the month, beginning in November, 6 p.m. each meeting, at the Rogersville Senior Center. Potluck meals are typically served.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding Civitans and the Rogersville Civitan Club, you may contact Mr. Thompson at 256-810-7158, or call current Rogersville Civitan Club Treasurer Randy Baker at 256-483-0849.

Mr. Thompson reiterated, “We hope to see you at the park on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.”

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