Exchange Club recognizes annual award winners

Published 3:50 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Exchange Club members and special guests gathered for an Annual Awards banquet at Mitchells in Brookhaven Friday Evening. 

Brookhaven’s Chapter President Charlie Campbell welcomed everyone to the dinner. He said he was looking forward to the celebration. 

“This is a special night to honor some folks who have done a great job serving us and the community,” Campbell said. “It is a privilege to be president of this club. I enjoyed it. I could not do it without my club members. The exchange club thanks the community too. Earlier this year at Christmas, we did a volunteer dinner. We could not run a club without them. We had an appreciation dinner for sponsors earlier this year. Whether it is the ride or different booths, these people support what we do. It is great to know this community is behind what we do.” 

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Bill Hickman, a former club member and native of Brookhaven, took over the microphone. He explained the Exchange Club is a working club who helps give scholarships, runs the fair and sponsors the freedom shrine at the Lincoln County Courthouse. 

He said he grew up in the Exchange Club. Back then, the kids would meet on an old broken down bus and conduct their own meetings. 

Friday night’s award banquet was the first time they have had the dinner since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic was a tough challenge for the club. Hickman joked it was not all bad. 

He told a story about how the liquor store in Wesson moved south to Brookhaven right before COVID. The move created “issues for baptists who partook for medicinal purposes,” Hickman said. Before the move, he joked he could drive to Wesson and sneak around the bank while Bradley Smith watched and wrote down names from his office. COVID changed everything.

“Everyone had to put on a mask and the problem was solved,” he said.

In all seriousness, a lot has changed over the last couple of years. Hickman said the club lost members to age and illness. It gained new members though with women joining. He joked the new members helped the overall appearance of the club which was met with laughter. 

Annual Awards 

Hickman announced the winners of the Attendance Awards saying that “Empty seats don’t get things done.” He thanked several people for their dedication and willingness to serve the club. 

Ray Glass, Danny Knight, Roger Leggett and Jim Philliips had 90 percent attendance. Stan Long and John Ogden had 95 percent attendance. 

Mike Walley, Ray Glass, Margaret Glass, Bill Haag, Pete Szczublewski and CJ Perron had 98 percent attendance. 

He turned his attention to recognizing people for their years of membership. 

“An addition is not always a bad thing. Addiction to service and community, it can be a good thing,” Hickman said. “Once Exchange Club gets in your blood they keep coming back.” 

Active member awards were given to Hayden Burns, Tommy Fuller, Keri Herndon, Alvin Lyons, Claudette Moore, Tristan Peavey, CJ Perron, Chris Wolff and Margaret Glass. Five year pins were given to Jan Alvey, Charles Campbell, Reubin Matthews and Phillips. 15 year pins were given to Ray Glass, Long, Ogden and Walley. Szczublewski earned a pin for being with the club for 25 years. Dwayne Townsend earned a pin for 30 years, Doyle Rushing earned a pin for 35 years. Knight and Haag earned pins for 45 years. Roland Lea, dubbed 5-0, was given a pin for being with the club for 50 years. Haag told a story about Lea’s dedication to the club. 

“When he was really active he would walk the Walmart parking lot every day. He would find pennies and put them in the club’s kitty,” Haag said. “He would put 50 pennies in the kitty instead of quarters so we would have to count them all.” 

The Outstanding President Award was given to Campbell and Outstanding Club Member award was given to Walley. The Youth of the Year was given to Perron. Outstanding treasure was Haag. The Outstanding going above and beyond for the club awards were given to Phillips and Knight. 

A special thanks was given to Moore, Herndon, Fuller, Perron and Margaret Glass. 

Special guests

Sarah Lloyd, a former Golden Deeds winner, was present at the award banquet. Campbell said she continues to be active in serving the community. 

“I thought she needed to be here tonight. She was a deserving recipient of the Golden Deeds award,” Campbell said.

Pam Cummings was present, she is a Master Gardener. Randall Walters, the  Richland Exchange Club President, joined the club for the dinner. Rep. Becky Currie joined the celebration and Campbell thanked her for being active in the state legislature. 

“She has done a lot for us,” Campbell said.