A group of men and women get up early every Friday morning and fill their plates with bacon, eggs and grits at the Ila Restaurant. The coffee is refilled as they talk and laugh. The jokes are frequent from both the podium and the crowd.
But the business is serious. Those in the banquet room of the longtime Madison County restaurant have a common goal — improving Madison County.
They do so through a variety of measures, such as pushing childhood literacy and supporting the food bank. The group has also gained widespread acclaim among regional civic organizations for its ramp-building prowess. The Rotary builds ramps for handicapped or elderly residents with remarkable speed, even competing among themselves at times, with Roy Gandy’s crew racing Pat “Ponytail” Quinn’s squad to see who can build a ramp the fastest. Most every week, a group of Rotarians arrives at someone’s home and constructs a ramp, giving physically challenged citizens a safe way in and out of their home. The heartfelt thank yous and the smiles on the recipients’ faces are hard proof of the importance of the task. The group hits ramp-building milestones with regularity and will soon celebrate its 600th ramp.
But Friday was a celebration of another milestone. The Rotary Club of Madison County enjoyed its 25th anniversary. And the group polished off its Southern-style breakfast with some celebratory cake, after first hearing a humorous and inspirational talk from Madison County High School 2015 valedictorian Sarah Spradlin, who spoke of her home school days with her mom, her early struggles to overcome dyslexia, her dad’s valuable lesson about integrity — of doing what’s right when no one is looking — and her admiration for Madison County teachers, who she said care deeply about their students.
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