Greene County Arkansas

Paragould, Arkansas

Centennial Edition Section 2

Monday, August 29, 1983, Paragould Daily Press                                                                                                                        Section 2, Centennial Edition -13


"People Helping People"

Photo courtesy: Mary Keasler













The way

        we work






Organizations provide outlets for community involvement


Groups are listed chronologically,
based on date they were organized.

Extension Homemakers Council
The first Greene County home economist took office in 1914, but the first county extension homemakers council wasn't established until 1929.
  The first home demonstration agent was Elizabeth Dearing, who spent only one week in the county. She was succeeded by Grace Evans, who came March 1, 1916, and stayed until November of that year. Her work was done through personal visitation and many times she had a door closed in her face, or was asked to leave.
   In December, Kate Clarida be-came the agent and organ-ized 4-H clubs in the county. In 1918, she bought a Model T Ford for $585 and became the county's first woman driver. She still lives in Hornersville, Mo.
   There was no home agent from 1918 to 1928, when Effie Rogers became the agent. In 1928 and 1929, she organized 12 clubs and the first county council of home demonstration clubs was organized. In 1936, a home demonstration hall of fame was organized under Geraldine Orrell. Two years later, electricity reached rural Greene County, changing the lives of rural women.
   By 1941, the council had 1,263 members, the largest membership in the state. Orrell resigned that Nov-ember, and Harriet Patterson became agent. In 1942, World War II resulted in the council expand-ing its interests from farming and home-making to include national war time goals.In 1946, Patterson resigned and Dora Stubblefield became agent.
   After a decade of successful money making projects, Stub-blefield resigned and Mary Manis took over. In 1966, the Home Demonstration Club name was changed toExtension Homemakers Clubs. The agent's title was changed to extension home economist. Manis, who came to the county in 1956, changed her name to Mary K. Rhodes in February 1973.
   From 1965 to 1975, there was a steady decline of membership, which the EH clubs attribute to the fact that many women went to work. Entire clubs were lost. In the past two years, strong efforts have been made to increase membership through news-letters, educational programs and the mass media.
   Home economists had another name change in 1974, to county extension agent -- home economics. Clara J. Garrett accepted that job in July 1981. Now there are 17 clubs with a county membership of 217.

Chamber of Commerce
  The Paragould Area Chamber of Commerce was established in 1915 by mem-bers of the Greene County Commercial Club. The earlier organization was formed when a few prom-inent citizens and leading business people decided they should work together to foster a few essential projects for Paragould and the surrounding communities.
   Members of the original Greene County Commercial Club formed the nucleus for the chamber of com-merce,which now has about 300 members. Chamber activities are man-aged and directed by elected officers with help from a hired staff. Everett Rogers is the current president, and King O'Neal is executive director.
   Committees are appointed and maintained to carry on the functions of the chamber's community development program.

Adams and Jackson Post 17
  The Adams and Jackson Post 17 of the American Legion began in 1919 as a World War I veteran organization, and now has 348 members.
   Some members of a company that organized from Paragould and went to France are still living. The organization supports child welfare, Ameri-can Legion baseball, Boys State, Girls State and the oratorial contest.

Business and Professional Women
   The Business and Professional Women's Club was established Oct. 1, 1919, to elevate and promote the  standards of  working women. It currently has 49 members.
   In July 1919, 14 women invited every business woman in Paragould to a picnic at the old country club to organize a club. The picnic was such a success that they had to send back to town several times for more food.


Photo Caption:
Kate Clarida Remby about 1917,
wearing her 4-H uniform
                   Photo courtesy: R. O. Clarida

    The club rented a house on the corner of Second and Emerson streets, which it shared with the YWCA. Four local women attended the first meeting of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's  Club in St. Louis that same month. The first state meeting was held in Little Rock in Oct-ober and the local club received its charter.
   In 1925, Paragould hosted the state
federation convention at the Vander-
voort Hotel with 13 of the 17 clubs in
Arkansas participating. Among the
activities was a public meeting with
the theme "A High School Education
for every Girl and Women Helping
   In 1936, the club sponsored the
opening of the city's first public library in what was called the Reynolds build-ing, which sat on what is now the Security Bank parking lot. The library moved to the second story of city hall in 1950, eliminating rent and other club expenses.
   Also in 1936, the first women were
selected to serve on a local jury as a
result of a legislative program sponsor-
ed by the club. BPW members also
organized Girl Scouts in the city and
founded Harmon Playfield.

Rotary Club
   The Paragould Rotary Club obtain-
ed its charter in April 1921. Its purpose
is to encourage and foster service through the club, community, vocations
and international avenues. It has 60 members.
   William F. Kirsch was elected as
the first president and since that time
62 men with various professional and
business backgrounds have served as
leaders of the club.
   From 1954 to 1955, Verlyn Heath
served as district governor for Rotary.
The district consists of 22 counties and
33 Rotary Clubs. Through the years, the club has donated more than $50,
000 to the community for development
of recreational facilities, including the tennis complex next to Paragould
High School.
   The group's only fund-raising project
is the Rotary Radio Auction, originated by the late Ted Rand. The idea has been copied and Rotary Clubs all over the United States now conduct radio auctions. This fall, the club will conduct its 34th annual auction.

Kiwanis Club
The Paragould Kiwanis Club began
March 2, 1939, to assist underprivileg-
ed children and to serve other com-
minity needs. There are now 53
   The club erected the community
Christmas tree on the courthouse square and collected and distributed toys and food to needy families. These acts were the forerunners of today's Goodfellows. The club also provided leadership for the hot lunch program in the Paragould school system and back-ed a city law to eliminate outdoor  toi-lets, hog lots and horse lots in the city limits.
   It also sponsored construction of
public toilets in the Paragould business
district and free lights at Harmon play-field, provided funds to furnish the children's ward at Arkansas Methodist Hospital and sponsored organization of the county community fund to provide a united fund drive for charitable organizations.

Lions Club
   The Paragould Lions Club is one of
36,000 Lions clubs in 150 nations or
geographic regions. The local club was
organized on April 29, 1947, with the Jonesboro club as sponsor. Early
presidents were Horace Whitsett,  1947-48, Lee Ward, 1948-49, and J. H. Grooms, 1949-50.


Photo Caption Top:
  In early days, people had to work together. It took group-power to perform what had to be done whether it was thrashing wheat, making sorghum or rolling logs.
   It was neighbor helping neighbor because that was the only way to survive. But
today, with machines to do much of our back-breaking work, we still band together
for the common good.
   The Daily Press solicited short histories from each of the local organizations we
were able to contact. They are represented here in edited form and collectively
paint an impressive picture of the dedication and good works these groups and their
individual members have showered on their home town and county.
                                                                                                                        Photo courtesy: Sadie Cox

Photo Caption Bottom:

Members of the Paragould Lions Club help install the city's first street markers. Kneeling, Jimmy Grooms. Standing, from left, Horace Whittsett, Tom Watson, Ike Willcockson, Cecil Gould, Bob Childs and Bill Driskell.
                                                                                                              Photo courtesy: Jimmy Grooms


    The club's weekly meetings were
held at the Vandervoort Hotel and the
cost was $1 per meal. The group's
first community service project was
the installation of the city's first street
markers, concrete posts made by club
members at the city barn.
   After eight years of existence, the
local club ranked seventh in the district
with 55 members. At that time, the club spent $600 to $1,000 annually on sight conservation work, maintained and operated Paragould Country Club and golf course, had placed permanent street markers on every street corner in the city and sent representatives to Boys and Girls State.   The club also helped with the county
fair and the Goodfellows drive, sent
three children to the school for the
blind in Little Rock, conducted an an-
nual safety project and sponsored a
little league baseball team and a Boy
Scout troop.
   Today the club has a budget of
$9,758. Member Mike Todd is deputy
district governor, Gary Washington is
zone chairman and club president Roy
Whitten is on the board of directors of
Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind,
the Arkansas Eye and Kidney Bank
and is treasurer of the Arkansas Sight
Conservation Committee.

Trellis Garden Club
   The Trellis Garden Club, which now
has 19 members, was organized by the
Paragould Garden Club in 1948. One of its main projects each year is the Christmas holiday homes tour.
   In 1979, the Garden Gate Garden Club and the Trellis Garden Club bought the sign and had the planter built at the Greene County Community Center. The Trellis club keeps the flowers at the courthouse and supplied the planter at the Home for the Golden Years. It also won the state petroleum award in 1971 for its red tulip bed.
   The group's biggest project is the
flower bed at the American Legion in
the shape of the state of Arkansas,
maintained in cooperation with other
organizations. In 1975, members
started the garden book shelf at the
library and give books each year on
gardening and flower arranging. They
also sponsor a lawn of the month
award and arrange a flower show
each year.

Hospital Auxiliary
   The Community Methodist Hospital
Auxiliary was formed in October 1949,
soon after the hospital opened its doors for patient care. Its primary function in the early days was to help pay bills for the hospital and the bills of needy patients.
   Another purpose is to help Arkansas
Methodist Hospital promote the wel-fare of the community in accordance with objectives set by the hospital.
   The auxiliary worked vigorously during its first three years and donated $9,310 to pay old accounts, as well as $2,500 toward payment of hospital bills of 47 patients. Since that time, the auxiliary has continued to give financial aid and gifts to the hospital.

     Three major fund-raising projects
were a 10-year theater production of
Belles and Beaux, the gift shop, which
is operated by volunteers from the
auxiliary, and selling four editions of
the hospital cookbook.
   Other small projects have added funds
which were used n the purchasing of equipment and other assets.
   Purchases have included a flag placed
at the entrance of the hospital, drapes for the new additions to the  hospital, tele-visions for patient rooms and ICU units, rockers for the nursery and recliners for the ICU waiting rooms, equipment to transport critically ill infants to other hospitals and car seats for children of families who cannot afford to comply with a new state law requiring safety seats. The
auxiliary also maintains a nursing scholar-
ship fund awarded to a county woman.
   The auxiliary has 102 members and
Joyce Harig is president for the com-
ing year.

The Greene County Goodfellows Inc., established about 1953, aids the less fortunate in the county. Anyone can be a member.
   The biggest yearly project for Good-
fellows is the Christmas adoption office,
which begins two weeks before Christmas
to "adopt" needy families for the holidays. In the early years, there as a "lights on" campaign in which people turned on their porch lights and set out canned goods,
clothes and toys to be picked up and
distributed at Christmas.
   Additional aid is furnished throughout
the year for other needs. The group is assisted by donations and the Greene County United Way.

Exchange Club
   The Paragould Exchange Club was
established locally on June 26, 1961, to
exchange ideas for promoting the com-
munity and patriotism. It now has 28
   The national slogan for the club is
"Unity for Service." Some of those
services are installing freedom shrines in schools and the library, crime prevention programs for all county schools, selecting a youth of the month and youth of the year, sending a boy and girl to Boys and Girls State, sponsoring a Goodfellow family at Christmas, sponsoring a senior citizens day at the fair and being involved
with Suspected Child Abuse and Neg-
lect programs.

United Way
   The united Way of Greene County Inc.
began Sept. 12, 1962, to organize a
fund-raising campaign each year for
several agencies in order to reduce
expenses and voluntary manpower.
There are now 13 member agencies.
   Since 1962, thousands of county resi-
dents have learned life saving skills
and to swim through the Red Cross pro-
gram. Mentally retarded citizens are aided by the Association for Retarded Children and Step Ahead program.


Continued of Page 14

Photo Caption Above:
Paragould Chamber of Commerce, year unknown: Front row, Mr. and Mrs. Saul Bertig, Hester Hickson, Belle Wall, Ruth Camp, Blonnie Hale McDonald. Back row, Arvin (Red) Reynolds, Henry Sellmeyer, Preston Ritter, Winston Mack, Agnes Graves, Al Wrape, Orrris Collins, Mr. Blackburn.
                                                                                                                           Photo courtesy: Orris Collins


Transcribed from the 1983 Centennial Edition by : PR Massey

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