The Montgomery Civitan club was first organized and chartered June 24, 1921, as Club No. 31, with 48 members. The club surrendered its charter and was reorganized and rechartered on April 21, 1931, as Club No. 254, with 40 members.The last report of this club shows the date December 1, 1935, with just 19 members. The next record shows that the Montgomery Club was again rechartered as club No. 376 on December 4, 1939 with 20 charter members and was sponsored by the Mother Club of Birmingham. During the first period of club activities D. A. Holloway represented the club on the original Board of Trustees for the new Crampton Bowl, July 4, 1922.
There are many interesting facts in our Club’s past history. One of these being a membership of 99 which was, at that time, within one of the Club’s Constitutional limits.
Our club has had many projects: During World War II the club was instrumental in shipping approximately five to six million cigarettes overseas FREE to the armed forces. For years Boy Scout activities have been promoted by the club and are one of the leading projects for the building of good citizenship. The ‘T. B. Camp has been close to the club’s heart as well as our oratorical contest for the youth of Montgomery. The School of Deaf and Dumb comes under the watchful eye of the club. Our club has sponsored two student nurses and many other projects such as giving the first $1,000 for the organized spastic project.
Some of us can remember what an enjoyable time each member had when we sponsored the King Brothers Circus for several seasons. This project produced needed funds for the club.
August 1944, the Montgomery Civitan Club conceived the idea of an everlasting memorial to the men and women of Montgomery County who gave their lives for the four freedoms, something that would be a real part of the city and county and which would be treasured for many years. The Cenotaph, which is located directly in front of the Federal Building, on Church and Lee Streets, was also designed to perpetuate the ideals that our men and women died for, namely, the Four Freedoms: Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Worship, and Freedom of Speech. Soil from many battle fields was put in the four openings at the base in which grass is growing, making this a living monument.
On Friday evening, May 2, 1969, Lou Bass presented an organ concert at the Alabama Christian College, which was sponsored by the Montgomery and East Montgomery Civitan Clubs. The proceeds were used to buy a Baldwin Organ for the deaf children at Montgomery Children’s Center. It was learned by using head sets some of the children could hear the music. This was a successful project.
On February 13-16, 1975, the Montgomery Civitan Club sponsored, along with other Civitan Clubs, the Dixie Classic Antique Fair at the Garrett Coliseum. This was to raise funds for new facilities for the Mclnnis School of Retarded Children. This antique show was composed of over 60 dealers from 22 states, who found the large oval arena of Garrett Coliseum ideal for a beautiful display area. After the Civitan Clubs raised $10,000, the State and Federal Governments contributed seventy percent towards the construction of the new modern building for the Mclnnis School.
On December 4, 1990, our Club celebrated its GOLD PLUS ANNIVERSARY, (1939-1990). It was well attended by former members and current members. Hugh L. Cattle, one of the charter members, was in attendance and addressed the Club.
Civitans are contributors and our Club through the years has contributed many thousands of dollars to various charitable and non-profit organizations. None of our Project Funds can be expended for General Fund items.
The following is a partial listing of our Projects: Boys Club, Camp ASCCA, Cleveland Avenue YMCA, Faith Rescue Mission, Harding University Citizenship Seminar, Madison Park Hope Center, McInnis School, Montgomery Children’s Center, Montgomery Crime Prevention, Spirit of Freedom, Widowed Persons, A Specially built motorized wheel chair for Sherry Brannon, Montgomery Association for Retarted Children, Special Olympics, Hospice of Montgomery, Bryce Hospital (Christmas Donation), and MIND (Montgomery Institute for Neurological Development).
HARDING UNIVERSITY CITIZENSHIP SEMINAR:
As builders of good citizenship, Civitan Clubs of Alabama and Northwest Florida, in 1956, requested that a forum be developed for youth. The Harding College Freedom Forum was it for us. Since that beginning, students and Civitan Clubs have responded so favorably that over the years Harding is one of our “most important products.” Many of our clubs send many students from high schools each year. Through the media of lectures, films, research, educational tours and association with internationally recognized authorities, we assist youth to become better acquainted with the American scene, and motivated to a more forceful expression of pride in America’s traditions and ideals. The Harding College week affords them a better Citizenship insight
INTERNATIONAL CLERGY WEEK: Once a year, usually the first Friday in February, the club has a special program to honor our Clergy.
On February 3, 1943, at 1:15 a.m., the troop transport Dorchester was torpedoed and sunk in the cold icy waters off Greenland. The ship was only 90 miles from its destination, but within twenty-seven minutes 678 of the 904 men on board were last in the iceberg waters of the North Atlantic.
Among those 678 men were four Chaplains -- a Priest, a Rabbi, and two Protestant Ministers. These Chaplains went down with their ship because they had given their life jackets to soldiers who had none. With utter disregard for self, these Chaplains stood hand in hand, praying to the God they served, for the safety of those men who were leaving the sinking ship in fear and terror. International Clergy Week is done all the way from Greenville, Alabama to Oslo, Norway, from Dallas to Tokyo...any where there is a Civitan Club. Find out more HERE.
SEEK MEETING: Several meetings a year are devoted to recruiting new members. Prospective members are invited to attend. The program includes some Club history, gives Club objectives and benefits of belonging to Civitan. Also included, are comments on our fund raising projects and other remarks about our cooperation with other Civic Clubs and charitable organizations.
CIVISCOOP: During the Civitan Year of 1981-82, District Governor Archie Stinson put on a contest among the clubs to design a logo for the District Bulletin “The Civi-Scope”. Our own Larry Marzella presented the winning entry. Two years later in 1983-84, Larry designed the logo for our Club Bulletin “The Civiscoop”. For the year 1987-88, the Editor of “The Civiscoop”, Jim Gibson, received the Second Place Award from Civitan International for his “Journalist and Creative Writings” for the “Civiscoop”. Jean Spiro has been the typist for The Civiscoop since 1968.
SPORTS HALL OF FAME: Early in February, 1991, The Montgomery Area Sports Hall of Fame was founded, with its purpose to honor the citizens who have distinguished themselves in athletics and have been outstanding role models for young people. The Montgomery Civitan Club furnished more inductees (4) at the inaugural induction, March 7, 1991, than any other Civic Club in the area.
Inducted were Ben Goltzman, Max Moseley, Earnest O’Connor and Woody Parks. Ben Goltzman, owner of Montgomery Rebels Baseball Team, promoted wrestling, basketball and other sports activities. Max Moseley, writer and editor for the Montgomery Advertiser, was a state leader in golf, and in basketball and football officiating, helped organize the Montgomery Civic Club Golf Tournament, and served for 40 years as Commissioner of the Central Alabama Football and Basketball Officials Association. Earnest O’Connor, whose active affiliation with baseball covered 60 years. During that time, he was a player, manager, coach and owner of the Montgomery Rebels Baseball Team for 17 years. Woody Parks was an amateur baseball pitcher in his younger days. At age 40 he broke into organized baseball as a part-time player during World War II and he had a record of 11-5. His overall record includes more than 500 wins, with three no-hitters and numerous one-hitters.
LARGEST FUND RAISING PROJECT: Our largest fund raising project was for the purchase of a kidney dialysis machine and a mobile home in which to house the unit.
In August of 1971, a request was made to our Club for financial assistance to a kidney failure patient by our member Gene Berney. The patient, one of Gene Berney’s employees, was in dire need of help. Being, there was no public dialysis unit available in Montgomery, this patient had to make two trips weekly to Birmingham to obtain treatment.
The Board of Directors decided that public agency help should be sought before private resources were used. With the help of the State Rehabilitation Agency and insurance benefits, a kidney machine was provided for the patient. Even though this case did not require direct financial help from our Club, a review of this situation brought to the attention of the Board of Directors a situation which had extensive potential for Club activity. After much discussion, our Club voted to purchase a dialysis machine and a mobile home to house the unit.
The mobile home and dialysis machine was located on land adjacent to Baptist Health South who provided a technician to supervise use of the machine for patients. Soon a second machine was installed and patients were served regularly.
The fund raising campaign began in early 1972. With the help of the local news media and a lot of hard work by club members, we raised just over $10,000.00. A local radio station announcer, Larry Stevens, raised $2,936.76. A local shopping mall “Bucket Brigade” manned by Junior Civitans and Club members raised $343.16. Other various contributions amounted to$2,202.37.
Profit from candy sales was nearly $2,300.00. Profit from fruit cake sales was nearly $2,372.00. The cost of the trailer for the unit was $5,000.00. The kidney machine and other equipment along with installation charges amounted to nearly $5,000.00. This made the total expendiatures aproximately equal to the funds raised during the campaign.
The first patient was assigned to the dialysis unit in March 1972, and a second patient was added in April. The project resulted in a considerable renewal of activity in the Montgomery Civitan Club. Club membership increased by about fourteen members during the project development stages. Eventually the hospitals in Montgomery installed their own dialysis programs. The mobile home and units were donated to Baptist Health South. We feel that a need was met and a great service was provided.
FUND RAISING PROJECTS: Our members are involved in a number of fund raising projects.
Candy Box Program: This is a year round program throughout the city in which candy boxes and coin boxes are placed at various businesses in their cashier areas. We supply the candy and collect the change that is deposited in the boxes.
Claxton Fruit Cake Sale: Each fall during Thanksgiving and Christmas season we sell Claxton Fruit Cakes through individual sales to individual and wholesale to various stores in the area. We deliver the fruit cakes and service the stores. Also during this holiday period we sell shelled pecans in bags mostly through individual sales by members.
Vidalia Onion Sale: In the spring we promote a vidalia onion sales campaign to the public. We drive to the farm, pickup the bagged onions, and bring them back for our member salesmen to deliver to their customers.
Montgomery Biscuit Baseball Parking: In the last few years we have developed a new fund raising program. With the completion of the River Front Baseball Stadium, (home of the Montgomery Biscuits baseball term), the club negotiated with the city to supervise the parking in various lots around the stadium for a percentage of the parking fee. This program was initiated and is managed by our own Marvin Hughey. A number of members spend a couple of hours before each home game parking cars and collecting the parking fees. This has proven to be a profitable program to help fund our charity projects.
Original History was written by Ernest W. Knabe.
The History was updated in 1975 by D. D. “Stumpy” Black.
The History was updated in 1991 by Doug Newsom.
The History was updated in 2008 by Larry Marzella.