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Unsung Heroes: Gate City Civitan works to make a difference in the community

June 30th, 2014 2:30 pm by Whitney H. Parker

Unsung Heroes: Gate City Civitan works to make a difference in the community

When I think of a hero, I think of someone who strives to better the world they live in to ensure a better future for others. That is a characteristic the Gate City Civitan exemplifies.

"The goal of Gate City Civitan, like all Civitan Clubs, is Knowledge, Fellowship and Service. We want to be aware citizens and serve our communities. We also build bonds of friendship within our club, district and internationally," said Penny McClellan, Gate City Civitan president.

The club is guided by the Civitan motto: Builders of Good Citizenship; and this is exactly what they do.

Many of the services the Gate City Civitan performs benefit the students and youth in the community. They work extremely hard to maintain the playground at Grogan Park. In addition to making sure the playground is in great condition, they also matched grant funds which was used to provide the walking trail and outdoor classrooms at the park. They also maintain a Memorial Plaque at Grogan Park for donations received to help maintain the park.

In addition to the work at Grogan Park, Gate City Civitan sponsors a local Little League baseball team and provides them with an outing at the end of the season. They also spread holiday cheer by providing a Christmas party for each special needs class across Scott County. In the spring, each special needs class is given a fun day at Grogan Park - complete with activities and a cookout.

Another way the Gate City Civitan helps local children is by donating to several local charities including the Food Pantry, Imagination Library and Fishing Day.

Additionally, Gate City Civitan hosts an annual golf tournament to help Scott County schools with projects they are not able to fund on their own.

"The schools must apply for the proceeds, and are expected to help raise money by recruiting teams and selling sponsorships," McClellan stated.

In addition to the many events provided to support the school system and local children, a special annual dinner is provided by Gate City Civitan to honor the local clergy in Scott County.

The members of Gate City Civitan are very dedicated individuals who stay busy putting a lot of work and time into making these events successful. While time consuming and a lot of work, Gate City Civitan members feel it is a very rewarding experience providing these services to better their community.

"The most rewarding part of being a Civitan member is doing work in the community that makes a difference. We love providing the special needs children with Christmas parties and the Kid's Day at the park. We like to help the local schools with projects that they could not afford on their own through our annual golf tournament," continued McClellan.

The wonderful events and services the Gate City Civitan provides would not be possible without donations and fundraisers.

"Our main fundraiser is the football programs at Gate City High School. We sell the advertising, have the programs printed, and sell them at the games," McClellan said. "We also sell Claxton Fruitcakes during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season."

Currently, Gate City Civitan has 18 members, but they are always looking to expand. McClellan says the biggest challenge the club faces is needing young adult members. "Our biggest challenge right now is membership. Many of our members are getting older, and we need younger people in our club."

Gate City Civitan's current officers include McClellan, president; Ray Kilgore, president-elect, Eugene McClellan, secretary; and Teal Wininger, treasurer.

Gate City Civitan meets on Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. at the Gate City Town Hall. Anyone interested in joining can contact a club in their area by visiting the Civitan International website at Adults ages 18 and older may join. Interested middle and high school students, who are interested in opportunities to make a difference in their schools and communities, can join Junior Civitan, which is sponsored by Gate City Civitan. 

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