The Meridian Star
Center Hill Community Club entering the club house from the bone chilling cold were soothed with words words from incoming president Robin Doerner, who quoted the following words of ancient Greek storyteller Aesop: "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
The first meeting of the new year began with a devotional reading by the Rev. Wallace Terry appropriately titled "New Beginnings," from Terry's favorite publication "Seeds From the Psalms."
"A man asked, 'There's nothing left for me. I've made such a mess out of my life that I have nothing to look forward to. And the tragedy of it all is that things looked great for so many years. Now, when I look into the future all I see is gloom and darkness. Where can I find anything to look forward to?'
"'There is an answer – I can assure you of that,' said his friend. Turning to Psalm 112:4, he read, 'Even in darkness light dawns for the upright.'
"God will always provide His Light for those who seek it. No matter how far we have fallen or how little hope we may have," Terry read. "God can take the bitterness of defeat and despair and turn them in to stepping stones of success. When we willingly face and acknowledge our faults and shortcomings, ask for and accept His forgiveness and surrender our lives to Him, He will bring victory out of defeat."
Terry continued, "Consider the story of Peter. When someone asked if he was a follower of Jesus, he lied, saying, 'I am not!' A few moments before his denial, he attempted to protect Jesus with his sword. And there was Mark – the author of the second book in the New Testament. He started as a strong believer with complete trust in the message of Jesus. Suddenly, things grew boring and the excitement evaporated. So, he gave up the 'call' and quit. But in spite of their failures, he did not give up on them. And neither will He give up on us. He forgave them, as He will us, and bring His light back into our lives.'"
Before ending his devotion with prayer, Terry recited from memory the poem "Met the Master Face to Face" by Lorie Cline. He noted that it has always been a favorite of his.
Club member Stanley Lucky, who serves as chief of the Bailey Volunteer Fire Department, was guest speaker for the evening. Lucky took members through a "Day in the Life" of a fire chief, noting that it is not all fire calls and traffic calls for the three stations.
A fire chief must do tons of record keeping and report making, he said. Annual reports must be made to Jackson, filling out grant paperwork which increases the budget for new equipment, training meeting records, State Rating Bureau reports – all on top of actual calls to emergencies.
Lucky, who has been with the VFD since 1983, said all paperwork is made worthwhile by all the good the department does. He recently attended a program featuring the cartoon characters Alvin and the Chipmunks presented during the holidays as a fundraiser for the VFD. A little girl about 8 years old came up Lucky him and just stared. He said he thought she wanted to ask him something and was speaking to her. Her mother came up and explained that she had told her daughter that he was the man who saved her when she was a infant and had fallen into the family swimming pool. Lucky had taken her and laid her face down in his hand with her body across his forearm to get the water out of her lungs. He said the memory still chokes him up.
Center Hill CDC recognizes that Bailey Volunteer Fire Department members are greatly deserving of the community's support – as is every VFD. The club encourages everyone to consider a monthly donation through their water department or East Mississippi Electric Power Association (EMEPA).
Refreshments of spaghetti with all the trimmings were served by hostesses Robin Doerner and Dot Doerner.
Lucky, who is also the safety chairperson, presented a report on the proper use of space heaters. More and more people depend on space heaters when severe cold moves through the area. Lucky cautioned to make sure nothing touches the heater and to regularly check the cord to make sure it is not hot to the touch at the outlet.
Other committee reports were presented. Doerner reminded members to continue any and all recycling efforts.
Brent Stephens and Robin Doerner represented Center Hill CDC as nominees for Lauderdale County Man and Woman of the Year at the Annual Awards Banquet, which was held Jan. 27.
The meeting adjourned with members reciting the Pedge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
• Submitted by Cathy Clearman, secretary/reporter.