News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Wendy N. McDougal

Among those attending Founders' Day festivities for Joe Wheeler Chapter No. 291, United Daughters of the Confederacy, were, from left, LorraineEnnis, Charlotte Hazel, Constance Ansley and Kay McCarley.
Courtesy Photo
Among those attending Founders' Day festivities for Joe Wheeler Chapter No. 291, United Daughters of the Confederacy, were, from left, LorraineEnnis, Charlotte Hazel, Constance Ansley and Kay McCarley.

Joe Wheeler UDC celebrates 107th anniversary of founding

Wendy's word

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, little league baseball is officially underway. Amidst the hot dogs, popcorn and candy, fans spend countless nights at area ball fields rooting for their favorite teams and players. It is quite a sight.

Of course, the older and more seasoned players bring an extra degree of excitement to the game, but my joy right now is on the T-ball field with 4-, 5- and 6-year-ods. What a hoot! What an encouragement it is to see these players developing a love of the game.

The future of America's favorite pastime takes root right here, right in our own hometowns. I hope it is a fun and safe time for everyone who takes part. Best of luck for a great season.

Now let's see what the "chatter" is around town...

107 and counting

Have you ever wondered what is the oldest organization in Morgan County? A 107-year celebration might answer this for you.

Joe Wheeler Chapter No. 291, United Daughters of the Confederacy, honored the group's long tradition at an annual Founders' Day Luncheon at Decatur Country Club.

The event was called to order by President Kay McCarley. Dorris Chitwood, chaplain pro tem, and McCarley led the ritual, while Bettye Moore assisted with singing. Division (State) Officers Constance Ansley, Lorraine Ennis, Pat Lewis and Charlotte Hazel were welcomed, as well as guests from six Alabama UDC chapters, one Tennessee chapter, Little Joe Wheeler Children of the Confederacy, Sons of Liberty Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp, Rising Sun Masonic Lodge and the Lt. J.K. McBride SCV Camp. Visiting Chapter presidents Darlene Kleyer, Carolyn Cahoon and Gene Morman were presented long-stemmed red roses.

Division President Ansley, Thomas Whitman of Sons of Liberty SCV Camp of Decatur; Co-District Director Ennis, and Bobby Chitwood and Bud Masterson of Lt. JK McBribe SCV Camp of Moulton offered greetings.

McCarley recognized outstanding achievements of Joe Wheeler Chapter members. Rita Birdsong was named volunteer of the year for hours logged as a Giles County (Tenn.) Library volunteer, placing more than 30 headstones for Confederate soldiers and historical research. Glendora James received a certificate of merit for historical research, having assisted many new members in looking for ancestors. Dorothy Sipes received a pin and certificate for 25 years of good and outstanding service. Virginia Watkins received a 50-year pin and certificate for love and service to the Joe Wheeler Chapter. Sarah Gray was the recipient of the Winnie Davis Medal presented by McCarley and Ansley for giving of herself above and beyond the regular duties of a chapter member, such as helping restore the Confederate Cemetery in Decatur.

McCarley and Chapter Historian Betty Lovvorn honored Judy Bentley Blackwell with a Jefferson Davis Medal, one of the highest honors the UDC awards, for her writing of many historical articles during the past 14 years. Blackwell has been published in the UDC National Magazine, Old Morgan County Magazine, Morgan County Heritage Book and made contributions to the
Confederate Cemetery restoration. Whitman was named as honorary associate member of the Joe Wheeler Chapter for his contributions to preserve Confederate Heritage. Gerald Gunn, representative of the Rising Sun Masonic Lodge No. 29, was presented a certificate of merit for helping restore the Confederate Cemetery.

Following the awards ceremony, Ansley presented a preservation pin and certificate of appreciation to McCarley, who designed the artwork for the pin. Proceeds from pin sales will go to preserve historic sites in Alabama, such as Wheeler Home and White House of the Confederacy.

Entertainment was provided by guitarist and vocalist Kim Evans, a family law practitioner in Tuscaloosa.

Hostesses Jan Howell, Sarah Gray, Bettye Moore and Mavis Kimbrell coordinated table decorations of silver urns, pink calla lilies and mini nosegays of pansies. Programs and mini perfumes favors were provided.

Members and guests were reminded of the Dedication to the "Known Buried" in the Confederate Cemetery on Confederate Memorial Day in April. Announcements were made and door prizes distributed.

Celebration luncheon

Athens Ladies' Civitans will have a Celebration Luncheon for Administrative Professionals on April 26 at Central Church of Christ, 320 U.S. 31 North. Festivities begin at noon.

Seating is limited, so tickets are advanced sales only. You can get them at Pablo's, Compass Bank and from club members for $25.

For ticket information, call Elizabeth McDowell, 874-7490, or Teresa Broadwater, 874-2578.

PACT plans

If you have ever wanted to make a positive difference in the area of child abuse awareness and prevention, April is chance to do so. It is Child Abuse Awareness Month. An April 3 press conference by Parents and Children Together at Morgan County Courthouse kicked off the month's activities.

Tiki Hubbard, PACT executive director, spoke, joined by Morgan County Commissioners Jeff Clark and Richard Lyons. Melanie Little offered opening comments. A balloon release involved participating area schoolchildren, with 17 balloons released in memory of those who died in Alabama during 2005 because of abuse and/or neglect.

As a culmination to the months activities, join in the fun on April 29 at the annual Family Fun Day at Rhodes Ferry Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., You'll find live entertainment, inflatables, Children's Art Village, local vendors, food, Diaper Derby and Toddle Trot and a dunking booth. The event is free. Family Fun Day T-shirts are available for $10 each at PACT.

Another way to support this cause during April is by purchasing and wearing one of the popular silcone bracelets. They are royal blue with "Prevent Child Abuse" printed on each. They are great for children and adults to use to help us raise awareness about child abuse prevention. They are available at the PACT office for $1.

That's all for now. It's been great "chattin' " with ya!

Let me know what is going on in your little corner of the world. If it's special to you and features any of the great people who live in our community, then it will make a great Chatterbox item. E-mail me at, or call me at 350-5730.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Wendy N. McDougal Wendy N. McDougal
DAILY Staff Writer

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