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Ratliffs awarded Golden Deeds honor

Charles and Virginia Ratliff received the Brookhaven ExchangeClub’s Golden Deeds Award Friday during the club’s 57th AnnualBanquet at the Thames Center.

The fact that the Brookhaven couple is in charge of banquetdecorations and preparations each year made keeping the secret atricky task. Jimmie Gillis, who announces the recipient each yearduring the banquet, volunteered to take the Golden Deeds’ dutiesoff Virginia’s hands this year.

“It was hard to do because she kept bugging me who the winnerwas,” Gillis said after this year’s winners were announced. “Ofcourse, I gave her someone else’s name.”

The Ratliffs hugged and shook hands with club members andfriends on their way to the stand to accept the award, whichrecognizes deeds of kindness and actions to help others.

“We do this because we want to do stuff for people,” saidCharles Ratliff, the last charter member of Brookhaven ExchangeClub that was founded in 1947. “We hope we can continue going.”

In announcing the award, Gillis mentioned a variety of ways inwhich the Ratliffs have helped others and helped to make Brookhavena better community.

Gillis said the Ratliffs volunteer with the Brookhaven AnimalRescue League. He said their can-collecting efforts have brought inover $100 a month to help feed and take care of animals.

“It takes a lot of cans to bring in $100,” Gillis said.

Gillis said Virginia Ratliff has worked with the Brownie scouts,and both had worked as secretaries in the Juniors Department atFirst Baptist Church.

Gillis also discussed Charles Ratliff’s club activities, whichinclude being president in 1949 and serving as secretary for 44years. Ratliff received the national Distinguished Secretary Awardseveral times during those years.

“Every president during these 44 years looked to and receivedprofessional support from the club secretary,” Gillis said.

In 1952, Ratliff and 41 other club members started theBrookhaven Exchange Club Fair.

“Since then, it has been an annual affair, and thousands ofyoung and old alike look forward to it each year before schoolbegins,” Gillis said.

Now, the Ratliffs operate the bingo games during the fair.Gillis said they are responsible for fair enjoyment by children andadults over the years.

Gillis said the Ratliffs have also helped build 14 floats forthe Christmas parade and deliver fruit baskets to senior citizensand shut-ins.

With all their charitable activities, the Ratliffs also findtime for hobbies, Gillis said.

He said Charles Ratliff’s hobbies include quail hunting andgolf. Virginia Ratliff enjoys making glass angels and giving themto sick people at the hospital.

Gillis said the Ratliffs love the Lord, each other, Brookhavenand the Exchange Club.

“They truly believe the way to be happy and useful is to findsomeone in need and then do something to meet that need,” Gillissaid.