LaGrange Rotary installs new president, names Citizen and Rotarian of the Year

Published 12:01 am Saturday, July 1, 2017


The LaGrange Rotary Club on Thursday night held its annual end-of-year banquet at LaGrange College’s Turner Hall. With 116 Rotarians and guests in attendance, the event was one of the club’s most successful ventures.

The evening included a review of the club’s accomplishments for the year, award presentations and the introduction and pinning of the new 2017-2018 club’s president. Rotary District 6900 Assistant Governor Pat Keating was the club’s honored guest.

Club President Jake Jones thanked the club’s board members and committee chairs for their participation while he highlighted the various projects of the club. Jones also recognized and welcomed the club’s nineteen new members and the fifty-four members who had achieved perfect attendance for the year.

Former House of Representative member Carl Von Epps was named as the recipient of the club’s Charles D. Hudson Service Above Self, Citizen of the Year Award.

Jones introduced Von Epps citing his educational background and listing his numerous, and impressive, array of community organizations that he has belonged to.

“Carl is an individual who we all know,” Jones said.  “Carl is a graduate of Morehouse College, a Methodist Minister and most recently he has partnered with Ricky Wolfe to initiate the Race Reconciliation Committee.  Carl, your dedication to our community made this an easy decision.”

Von Epps was taken by surprise when presented with the award for he had thought he was accompanying Wolfe to his award ceremony. Along with Wolfe, Von Epps’ wife, Benita and his son, Carl were also in attendance.

Jones then presented the club’s Charles D. Hudson Service Above Self, Rotarian of the Year Award to Susan Ferguson.

“Susan has always been a Rotarian who gives her all,” Jones said. “Susan has served as membership chair, has sponsored 12 new members, takes a lead role in the participation of our projects and is slated to be our club president for the 2018-2019 Rotary year.”

Jones presented Ferguson with her award while the audience gave her a standing ovation. Ferguson’s husband, Charlie, was present to see her receive this honor.

Jones then introduced a new award for the club, the Above and Beyond Service Award. Jones gave an explanation of the award, which was originally suggested by Rotarian Drew Gay.

“Our plan is to keep up with our members’ participation and the award will directly reflect an individual’s service,” Jones said. “I am pleased to announce that this new award will be called the Barbara Henigin Above and Beyond Service Award, and Barbara Henigin is the first recipient of this new award.”

A stunned and tearful Henigin made her way to the podium to accept her award, again to a standing ovation from the guests. Henigin’s husband, Neil Corry, had accompanied her to the banquet.

Award-winning journalist and LaGrange native, Lee Walburn, provided the evening’s entertainment. Walburn delighted his audience with stories from both his professional and personal life adventures. Walburn’s timing and humor was the perfect addition to a delightful evening.

The banquet was concluded when Jones introduced David Fowler as the club’s 2017-2018 president. Jones ceremoniously presented Fowler with the club’s Rotary president pin. Fowler then thanked Jones for his year of service and presented him with parting gifts. Fowler’s year officially begins on July 1.