River City Ride

The River City Syndicate motorcycle club is second to none in giving back to the community. The club formed as a Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club in Decatur in 2010, enjoyed a slow growth through the years and recently added another chapter in Lawrence County. On Aug. 17, the club will hold its Fifth Annual Fallen Officer Memorial Ride. This year, it takes on a different twist with the registration proceeds going to Decatur Police Department officer and Desert Storm veteran Jeff Bailey.

Bailey was diagnosed with cancer in early spring and is currently undergoing treatment. All vehicles are welcome, and the ride will begin at the Syndicate Clubhouse, 1105 Newcomb St. N.W., at 10 a.m. and will end at 3 p.m. Registration for the event is $20 and donations are welcome. For more information, go to rsclemc.wixsite.com/website. Friends of the Bailey family have set up a public Facebook page, Bailey Strong, in order to provide information on Jeff’s treatment and fundraising efforts. 

Eva reunited

Forty-seven years ago, in 1972, the last class graduated from Eva High School. On June 29, 146 former students representing 25 graduating classes from 1947 to 1972 reunited in the gym of Eva School. Almost 250 people, including honorary members, guests and former teachers, Mitzi Smallwood, Leasle Maze, Joe Kampis, Orpha McDonald, Elouise Oden, Rolland S. Oden, Paul Parker and Jerry Galin, enjoyed the festivities. Swamp Johns was served for lunch. Marcy Stinson Holmes, class of 1970, prepared a delicious variety of cupcakes for dessert.

There was no mistaking the school colors as royal blue and white adorned the tables. Music from the era was arranged and played by Ray Cheatham, class of 1969.

The friendly competition for bragging rights for the class with the most classmates attending was in full throttle. The class of 1972 was edged out by one by the class of 1969 with 16 in attendance. High school memorabilia was displayed and judged with a cheerleader megaphone by Janice Bennett Parker, class of 1972, earning first prize.

The oldest alumnus, not attending, Martha Turney Crawford, class of 1933, is 105 years old and a resident of Hanceville Nursing Home. Five members of the class of 1947 were in attendance. Several alumni drove in from out of state, including, Col. Bill Woodard of North Carolina, Brenda Spratlin Alexander and Roland and Trish Childers, all of Tennessee, Patsy Holaway Rhoads, of Texas, Jan Coleman Wilson, of California, and Freda and Joel Vincent, of Kentucky.

The Outstanding Alumni award was presented by the last winner, Louie McDonald, class of 1955, to Martin Bear Nelson, class of 1959. Nelson has served the alumni, Eva School and the community in many capacities over his lifetime.

Much to everyone’s delight, the group photo was taken by Jeff Harville of Eva via a drone inside the gym.

Susan Runge Allen said her husband, Ben, enjoyed the reunion so much he couldn’t stop talking about it. Ben, who didn’t attend Eva, said it was one of the best he’d ever been to. 

Members form the classes of 1972, 1971 and 1969  prepared the gym and ensured that every detail was handled. These members included Wanda Hunt, Shirley Arnett, Robbie Smith, Janice Parker, Susie McNutt, Patsy George, Rita McCain, Jimmy Mosteller, Dan McCain, Terry Childers, Scott Hunt, Steve Arnett, Bill Lindley, G. W. and Lisa Horton, Angia Smith, Regina Mooney, Nelda Coker, and Vonda and Melvin Hunter.

Eva High School Alumni Association was founded by Rolland S. Oden and Theron Posey White, class of 1952. Current president of the Alumni Association is Jo Anne Makemson Lindley of the class of 1972. Although she now resides in Hoover, she is, first and foremost, an Eva gal, making the trek home often to make sure that things run like magic, including the alumni Facebook page. The next Eva High School reunion will be in the summer of 2021.

The Pilot Luncheon Club of Morgan County

Roxie Young, 2019–2020 president of the Pilot Luncheon Club of Morgan County, just returned from Chicago where she accepted two awards at the Pilot International Convention on behalf of the club. The club received second place for outstanding community service and the presidential challenge award for increasing their membership by 15%.

Their community service projects for the year included the presentation of Brain Minders Puppet Show to schools and assisted living facilities, sending six campers to Camp ASCCA and three campers and their caregivers to TBI Camp, providing three nursing scholarships to Calhoun Community College, providing four sensory boards to area schools for special needs classes and donating 40 fidget aprons to area residential facilities that work with Alzheimer and dementia patients. Funds raised from their Ooh La La Fashion Show held on Administrative Professional’s Day provide funding for these area projects.

Following the theme of Pilot International, this organization strives to Do More, Care More and Be More and influence positive change in the community. For more information on the club, email PLCMC@yahoo.com or visit their Facebook page, Pilot Luncheon Club of Morgan County.

God and Country

The God and County Service is something area residents look forward to each year as Independence Day nears. This year, the Southside Baptist Church event was held on June 30. The congregation was welcomed by Jeron Witt, and the opening prayer was said by Mayor Tab Bowling. Wayne Baggett directed the annual service that featured an Americana band and soloists Meredith Knight, Peggy Baggett, Paulette DeVine, Mary Jett, Dana O’Brian and Ray Cox. A special tribute song, “My Hero,” was written and performed by Jonathan Underwood in memory of his grandfather, Herman Baggett, a World War II Purple Heart recipient.

A toast to the American Flag was given by WWII veteran and prisoner of war Sgt. George F. Mills. The presentation of colors was posted by Decatur Police Department Honor Guard members Sgt. Byron Williams and officers Josh Williams, Ryan Hawkins and Macey Knight. The service also included a salute to the armed forces. The Army was represented by Sgt. 1st Class Howard Taylor; the Air Force was represented by Maj. Chuck LaMar; the Navy was represented by Chief Petty Officer Bob McGrew and Chief Petty Officer Caleb Fike; the Marines were represented by Staff Sgt. Jason Burns; and the Coast Guard was represented by Cmdr. Bob Feigenblatt.

After the musical celebration, an interview with Mills was done by Peggy Baggett. Mills talked about his recent trip to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. One of the treasured medals he received during the trip is a small football-shaped coin. He said, “This football reminds me that none of us should drop the ball because it is what we do for our country to make sure it remains the best country and moves forward with growth and prosperity.”

The service was closed by prayer by Morgan County Commissioner Randy Vest.

— Freelance columnist Wendy Lang writes Chatterbox. Send news and high resolution photos to chatterbox35603@gmail.com

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