The Belles of Madison County: Part 2 – Highlights From the 100-Year History of the Madison Woman’s Club Through the Eyes of Past PresidentsJun 7th, 2011 | By Lynette | Category: Community News
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
May of 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the Madison Woman’s Club. As outgoing president Jackie Johnson presided over her final meeting, the club members took a look back at some of the history of those 100 years.
Jackie Johnson (2010-2012 and 2006-2008; Johnson also served a third term several years earlier which will be highlighted in a future story) Johnson’s current term saw the Club add 27 new members to its roster, raise funds for repair and maintenance of the Woman’s Club building, as well as donate money to a wide range of annually recurring charities, from the hosting monthly birthday parties for residents at assisted living facilities to Operation Christmas Child to Canine Companions for Independence. They hosted a lingerie shower for the Hacienda Girls Ranch (a home for abused and neglected girls), in addition to collecting and donating school supplies for the Take Stock in Children Program. Madison County Sheriff Ben Stewart was the guest speaker during one meeting, with a presentation on confiscated drug smuggling funds and how this program benefits the county.
Madison’s Christmas celebration was a little more special, thanks to Club members’ hard work decorating the dining room in the Wardlaw-Smith-Goza Mansion and the enormous tree in Four Freedoms Park.
During Johnson’s prior term (2006-2008), the members raised funds for Operation Smile, an organization providing free corrective surgeries to children with cleft palates and other deformities, collected pennies to make a mile and collected book bags for the girls at Hacienda Girls’ Ranch. They also collected a huge amount of toiletries and personal items for the Battered Women’s Shelter in Tallahassee. A representative from Canine Companions for Independence was a guest speaker at one meeting, explaining how the organization raised and trained service dogs, and provided those dogs at no charge to disabled people who needed the assistance of a four-footed companion for simple, everyday tasks. Club members also participated in the Sew Much Comfort program, altering shirts for wounded soldiers, and honored one of its own members, Willie Claire Copeland, with a marker in Four Freedoms Park, for her dedication to planting trees each year in memory of deceased members. Local Student Ashley Smith received a ROCK (Reach Out to Kids with Cancer) Scholarship, and the Club helped the community celebrate Christmas by decorating the large tree in front of the Madison County Community Bank. Their effort won first place in keeping with Madison’s “Our Holiday Heritage,” thus beginning the Club’s tradition of decorating trees downtown.
Ethel Barefoot (2008-2010) – You may remember the Patriotic Christmas Tree on Range Street a few years ago; that was one of the club’s projects during Ethel Barefoot’s term as president. It was also during this time that the club began the tradition of decorating the Wardlaw-Smith-Goza Mansion for Christmas. They traveled to Tallahassee for Legislative Days in support of Senate Bill 136, providing funds for domestic violence victims, and lobbied for the very first president of the Madison Woman’s Club, May Mann Jennings, to be inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame.
Back in Madison, they collected and donated clothing for the displaced Homemaker Program at the North Florida Community College, donated soft drinks for the 4th of July Festival at Lake Francis and sold pies at the Red, White and Blue Festival in Downtown Madison. They also recognized a local doctor, Dr. Jonathon Bibb, voted as Hero of the Year for Madison, presenting him with a resolution in his honor.
The members’ creative side received recognition with an amazing 11 first place winners in the District 3 Arts and Crafts Festival; those winners went on to State level and picked up a first place, a second place, two third places and two honorable mentions.
At the State Convention, they won second place for their Club Yearbook and third place for Citizenship in Action, as well as hosting the District 3 Spring workshop with State Officers attending.
Barefoot was also selected as the District 3 LEADS representative to attends the Leadership, Education and Development Seminar, and was honored at the State Convention.