By Kendall Patterson
After 61 years of scholarships, supporting families through the Chester County Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and more; the Henderson Civitan Club comes to a close after it disbanded in September 2022.
Since its charter in 1961, Educators, business owners, medical professionals, homemakers and laborers have been members of the Henderson Civitan Club.
Former Henderson Civitan Club President Ray Eaton listed several Civitan members who dedicated their time to the community through the Civitan Club. Those people are: Walker Whittle, Linda Patterson, J.D. Thomas, Lavonne Scott, Roger Penn and Wendell Bloomingburg.
According to Eaton, some of the final acts of the club are significant donations totaling thousands of dollars that were presented to the FHU Associates, the Carl Perkins Center, Scout Troop 25 and the special education class overseen by Jamie Hurst.
These organizations were regular recipients of yearly donations.
Other ways of serving the community over the years included:
Several thousands of dollars in scholarships presented to CCHS graduating seniors on annual Awards Day.
Participated several years purchasing Christmas presents for families through the Carl Perkins Center
Served as the sponsoring organization for the local Scouts Troop 25. Paid their charter yearly. In the troop’s early years, provided land and a building for their meetings.
Promoted patriotism by displaying several U.S. flags at specific business locations on federal holidays.
Contributed several times to CCHS Project Graduation.
Participated in the Chester County Relay for Life.
Due to a limited budget of the special education class, Civitan donated funds to improve not only the instruction by the teachers but expanding the learning experience of the students.
Naming “Citizen of the Year” at the annual banquet, honoring several local community members for their volunteer community spirit.
Conducted a free bluegrass concert every May for 10 years as a gift of music to the community.
Built the Civitan pavilion at Gene Record Park in cooperation with the City of Henderson. The city provided the land and matching funds.
Organizing the installation of the large flag display in the city hall foyer.
Purchased an educational medical device ($7,000) to help a young Henderson girl to communicate in public.
Contributed to the work of Special Olympics in the West Tennessee area.
Supported, aided and promoted the Red Cross blood drives in Henderson for many years.
Eaton mentioned that there were multiple reasons that the community service club disbanded.
“The reasons to end this chapter of the Henderson Civitan club were numerous. First, COVID affected our regular meetings and activities. Second, our membership suffered losses due to moving away and death. Third, we felt that the organizational structure of Civitan International was not meeting our needs,” he said.
Eaton’s and others’ hope, whether it be starting a new Civitan Club or another organization dedicated to serving the community, is that “community-minded” individuals find a way to serve Henderson and Chester County.
“It is our hope that, perhaps in the future, a new group of community minded people will take up the banner and serve the community. It may be restarting a new Civitan club or forming a generic volunteer group dedicated to serving our community,” he said. “As for now, we continue to encourage all to seek out ways to better our town and communities through other civic organizations or independently. Even during the current challenges, the work of being a volunteer is needed and important; playing an impact on current and future generations.”
The local Civitan Club was a part of Civitan International that boasts hundreds of clubs in the U.S. as well as dozens around the world. Civitan International was the first service club to accept women into its membership. Overall, Civitan encourages volunteerism, respect for the law and flag of our country.
The organization fundraisers were:
Selling over 20 tons of pork roasts in the past 22 years. Additionally, the club loaned their smoker to other groups raising funds for their projects.
Selling subscriptions to businesses for yearly flag displays on federal holidays.
Organized an annual pancake breakfast in September during the BBQ Festival.
Selling Claxton fruit cakes during the holidays with the help of local businesses.