60 years with the Pilot Club

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A tea in honor of 60 years of the Pilot Club of Demopolis was held Sunday. In attendance were current, former members, and two charter members, Betty Ann Davis and Annabelle Braswell.

The club received charter 228 on Aug. 28, 1947 and was sponsored by the Pilot Club of Selma. Their mission statement as part of Pilot Club International is to &8220;improve the quality of life in communities around the world.&8221; Their motto is &8220;friendship and service.&8221;

Eleanor Park, who serves as one of the directors of the club, said the main focus of the Pilot Club&8217;s fundraising efforts are to benefit those who suffer from brain disorders and disabilities. Just one of the many programs to raise funds includes Brainminders, a safety program geared toward first grade students.

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A more recent fundraising effort of the Pilot Club is Project Lifesaver, which the club has raised nearly $9,500 toward since the beginning of July. The funds will go to implementing the program, which is a rescue effort for people who are affected by Alzheimer&8217;s, autism, Down syndrome or who are nonverbal.

The first president of the club was Carrie Mae Wilson in 1947. Some of the traditional fundraisers for the club included bake sales, knife sales and also participation locally in Freedom on the River and Christmas on the River.

Irma Parr, who has been a member of the Pilot Club for more than 50 years, said, &8220;I&8217;ve enjoyed the club.&8221;

She also said it has changed over the years because there are more civic opportunities for people.

Louise Reffett a former member who transferred to the Tuscaloosa Club in 1975, said the club used to assign classifications to each member according to what field of work they were in. They were also only allowed to have a certain percentage of each kind of classification in the club. Those rules, too, have changed with the years, Reffett said.

Another tradition of the club was to honor a Pilot Girl of the Month, who was a high school student who represented the ideals of the club. The trend eventually became a once a year affair. Now, the current reincarnation is with the club&8217;s affiliation with the Anchor Club.

While much has changed about the organization, there are still many things that have remained the same. A group of dedicated individuals come together to work to better their communities, and occasionally have fun, too.

Kelli Wright is a staff writer for The Demopolis Times. She can be reached by e-mail to kelli.hilyer@demopolistimes.com.