By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Nearly 200 people had dropped by Villa Maria Hall by six p.m. for the Rotary Club’s prime rib dinner fundraiser according to Brian O’Connell as he counted up the tickets near the end. The event officially ended at six, but there were still several people seated at the tables. People came and went during the entire evening, some gathering to eat with friends and family, others buying takeout dinners.
The dinner, one of the Rotary’s main fundraisers that year, even drew a few out-of-town guests, including Tommie and Mary Jo Stanaland, who were visiting from Perry; Stanaland, a retired Navy man, produced his military ID card, although with a twist – instead of Stanaland’s photo, it had a picture of his cat, Thomas, A.K.A. “Mau Tse-Tom.”
Sometimes, when he is asked for his military ID, he shows the cat ID as a joke. Every male cat he has ever had has been named Thomas, Stanaland added, and the current Thomas is a big, “very loving” cat, although the couples’ two dachshunds hate him.
Mayor Jim Catron, Janna Barrs, principal of Madison Academy, and several other Rotarians were on hand to help in the kitchen and the dining hall, and Ed Meggs did a turn washing a few dishes. Rick Davis, Glen Smith, Mark Buescher and Police Chief Gary Calhoun manned the take-out table. Calhoun sported a humorously appropriate chef’s apron, a gift from his sister about 10 or 15 years ago, he said; it resembled an old-west sheriff’s outfit, complete with a pocket that served as a holster for the oven mitt that looked like a revolver.
According to Rotarian Jim Catron, the dinner just about hit the mark as far as the number of guests expected, about 180 people. “We had planned for 200, so it was close,” he said.
The other major fundraiser was the Rotary Rifle Raffle. Rotarians had been selling tickets for several weeks prior to the Oct. 29 drawing, when the lucky ticket belonging to Scott Singletary of Cherry Lake was plucked from among hundreds sold.
The proceeds from both fundraisers will go toward several local charities supported by the Rotary Club of Madison.