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The Pilot Club of New Albany met Monday evening to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Pilot Club of New Albany. Pilot Club members from other clubs in Mississippi celebrated with the Pilot Club of New Albany. These clubs included the towns of: Holly Springs, Columbus, Starkville, West Point, Houston, Iuka, Fulton, Mantachie, Booneville, and Tupelo.
Mellisa Broom, Pilot Club of New Albany Treasurer, introduced their special guest, Deborah Archer, 2008-2009 Pilot International President. Archer lives in the Bahamas and represents the Bahamas district of Pilot International.
“This 2008-2009 year we are celebrating our theme, ‘Friendship and Service Around the World.’ I chose this theme as a reflection of our awareness that our world is becoming one community and we are all members with one primary goal: to improve the quality of life and the communities around the world. Take pride in the difference you have made in the world and in your own community,” Archer said.
Pilot International has seven countries, 400 clubs, 10,000 members and 20 districts internationally. The five international districts are United States, Singapore, Japan, Canada and Bahamas. The Mississippi district is within the United States district, was founded in 1930 and currently has 22 clubs and 500 members.
In 2005, Pilot International donated $30,000 to benefit brain tumor research. Recently a wing at St. Jude was dedicated to Pilot International. The service focus of Pilot International is brain-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, chemical dependency, traumatic brain injuries, developmental, emotional, and mental disabilities, according to the Pilot International Web site.
Donna Bridges spoke about the history of the Pilot Club of New Albany. She said, “55 years ago in 1954, 27 businesses and professional women met at the Rainey Hotel restaurant to start the Pilot Club of New Albany. They envisioned to be part of an international organization that was on the rise. Their first fundraising opportunity was to sell tickets at the Union County fair.”
The Pilot Club of New Albany is involved in many community and service-oriented programs. A few of this are: the loan closet that helps to loan out medical equipment to people in need, bicycle helmets that were given to many third graders, and they bought a Wii for the clients of New Haven School. The Pilot Club of New Albany has given over 50 Brain Minders presentations to over 1800 children.
The Pilot motto is “True Course Ever.” According to the Pilot International Web site, “Pilot International was founded and chartered as an international service organization in 1921. The main objective of this organization is to promote the awareness and prevention of brain-related disorders, and improve the lives of those affected by such disorders, through education, volunteerism, financial support and research. The organization is named after the river boat pilots of the early 1900s, who were admired for their ability to steer a “true course” through challenging conditions and obstacles.”