Civitans install new officers

The Houston PLUS Civitan Club installed new officers at their annual meeting last week at Floy Dyer Manor. Shown are President Scott Murphree, from left, Vice President Chris Perry and Secretary/Treasurer Albertina Bell. (Photo Floyd Ingram)

HOUSTON – The Houston PLUS Civitan Club hosted an installation service for new officers last week and used the event to highlight past accomplishments of their first year.

Civitans came to Houston last summer to help develop a club and the Houston PLUS Civitan Club held its chartering service on Sept. 25, 2012 at the Houston Civic Center.

Last week's meeting saw Immediate Past President of Mississippi Civitans John Fuquay give a quick rundown of what the Houston club has accomplished in 12 short months.

“A lot of people invested a lot of time and effort to get this club up and going and they have to be proud of you have accomplished,” said Fuquay. “I've watched a lot of clubs get started and it is impressive what the Houston PLUS Civitan Club has done.”

Fuquay pointed to the Houston Christmas Parade as one of the first community events the club championed.

“People don't realize it but Houston almost didn't have a Christmas parade last year,” said Fuquay. “The Houston club stepped in and organized it and pulled it off in just a few weeks.

“I understand you are now making plans for this year's parade,” he added. “As the years go by this will truly be a feather in you cap.”

Houston Civitans also got with local law enforcement to offer a wellness check to the elderly and homebound. Under this program, a relative can ask for a check of a family member through the Chickasaw County Sheriff's Department, who in turn calls the Civitan club to stop by. The goal is to free up law enforcement to pursue more serious crimes and concerns.

The Houston club also adopted three children at Christmas, hosted an onion sale, manned a booth at both the spring and fall Houston Flywheel Festival, co-hosted a kids fishing tournament at Davis Lake with the Hawg Callers Bass Club and adopted a two-mile stretch of highway for litter control.

“Our training as Civitans stresses the need for enthusiasm, organization, communication and integrity,” said Fuquay. “It is very evident that Houston PLUS Civitan Club has those qualities.

The club also installed officers for the 2013-14 year. New Houston PLUS Civitan officers are:

• President – Scott Murphree.

• Vice President – Chris Perry.

• Secretary/Treasurer – Albertina Bell.

This will be Murphree's second term. The 2012-13 vice president was Shenia Jones. The 2012-13 secretary/treasurer was Michelle Moss.

The club’s motto is “Builders of Good Citizens.”

Civitans were active in Houston from 1958 to 1978, but disbanded.

“Tupelo once had the largest Civitan Club in the world and the Houston club was the second largest in the state,” said Peggy Goode, a West Point Civitan who helped organize the Houston club. “Tupelo still has several clubs that are very active.”

The local club meets twice a month and picks its own theme, projects and fundraisers. Meetings are held to one hour.

Civitans have been helping people since the organization’s founding in 1917, by a group of businessmen determined to make a difference in their community.

In the 1950’s, Civitan adopted a special emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities. That theme is still a major focus of the national organization.

But Civitans also help wherever the need arises - from collecting food for a homeless shelter, to volunteering at their local retirement home, to building a playground for children with disabilities.

There are Civitan Clubs in West Point, Starkville, Columbus, Tupelo, Nettleton, Batesville, New Albany and Pontotoc.

Anyone wanting to join the Houston-PLUS Civitan Club can contact Murphree at 456-6859.

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