Rupert Howell’s column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Civitans mark ‘first 50’ with ‘young’ members

A club is no better than its members. For 50 years the Batesville Civitan Club has managed to hold on to a membership complete with godly men who have put service before self. The club has  recently witnessed a “rebirth” with young(er) members as it heads into the second half of its first century.

I was a young child when the local civic club was founded in 1958, but a list of its charter members was familiar to me. My roots here made memorable connections to almost everyone listed on the charter banquet program — most of them no longer on this earth.

Claxton Fruitcakes always come to mind when thinking of Civitans. I still picture those “old men” selling them door-to-door at Christmas time or their members who served with the Mississippi Highway Patrol establishing “courtesy” road blocks and offering them to any good motorist who wanted to “help with the cause.”

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Those surviving “old men” don’t appear to be nearly as old as they appeared when I was a kid, and the new “young” members look awfully middle-aged.

But the new members are also cut from the same mold as were the older members and service continues to be the number one goal.

Our community benefits when quality of life is enhanced by our service organizations. Often members of these clubs quietly provide a service that may go unnoticed or unreported. Some of those members may serve as a link in a chain rather than an engine or steering wheel. And that is as it should be because it is a club — an organization that puts service above self.

I never had a reason to question what the Civitan Club was about or what the members were doing because I knew from a very young age that those members were established citizens who “walked the walk,” so to speak.

Although service continues to be their purpose, it appears that several of the newer members are quite handy in a kitchen atmosphere. With the new energy and cooking skills added recently, the Batesville Lions Club needs to beware. Competition is upon you and I’ll wager that the entire community will somehow benefit.