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Covington Service Guild nabs top state honors

:Service Guild members proudly display the Federated Cupon the last day of the GFWC Georgia State Convention. Pictured, left to right, are Parliamentarian Diane Loeble, Betty McFadden, First Vice President Paula Wilkins, President Wilma Carey, Kathy Rhoades, Peggy Hawley and Treasurer Lynn Garrett. Officers not pictured are Second Vice President Lee Aldridge, Recording Secretary Debbie Dial and Corresponding Secretary Bobbie Banks. - Special Photo

:Service Guild members proudly display the Federated Cupon the last day of the GFWC Georgia State Convention. Pictured, left to right, are Parliamentarian Diane Loeble, Betty McFadden, First Vice President Paula Wilkins, President Wilma Carey, Kathy Rhoades, Peggy Hawley and Treasurer Lynn Garrett. Officers not pictured are Second Vice President Lee Aldridge, Recording Secretary Debbie Dial and Corresponding Secretary Bobbie Banks. - Special Photo

COVINGTON -- For the second consecutive year, the GFWC Georgia Service Guild of Covington has won the top honor at the state level.

The local guild took home the GFWC Georgia Federated Cup, the highest honor bestowed on a woman's club, at the 117th Annual GFWC Georgia State Convention, which took place April 11-14 at Marriott Gwinnett Place.

"We were just amazed. We didn't think that accomplishment was possible two years in a row," said Service Guild Treasurer Lynn Garrett.

Various organizations belonging to the General Federation of Women's Clubs submit reports of community service and activities for the year, and that information is used to determine the winner of the cup. More than 100 clubs were represented at the convention, "so we are just tickled pink" to win the award, said Garrett.

The Service Guild of Covington is 30 members strong, and members are very active volunteers in just about every area of the community and beyond. Just a sampling of their activities: making lap books for children and participating in the annual Literacy Festival; visiting residents of local nursing homes and providing games and programs for them; helping fund the education of a child in Guatemala; supporting UNICEF; donating to food pantries; supporting the Ronald McDonald House; hosting a talent show for mentally challenged adults; hosting parties for children for Project ReNeWal's battered women's shelter and providing underwear and socks for residents; supporting wounded veterans; making pillowcase dresses for children in Africa; and supporting the Tallulah Falls School in Tallulah Falls, Ga.

"We are unpaid employees of the community," Garrett said.

Some of those unpaid employees have devoted decades to volunteering: Nonie Needham recently picked up her 25-year service pin, and Frances Pratt, a charter member of the Guild, has more than 60 years of service.

The Service Guild has seven programs of work where it concentrates its efforts: arts, chaired by Lynn Garrett; conservation, chaired by Charlotte Johnson, Margie Bowers and Joyce Lancaster; education, chaired by Diane Loeble; home life chaired by Debbie Dial; international outreach, chaired by Peggy Hawley; public issues, chaired by Paula Wilkins; and Tallulah Falls School chaired by Georgianna Toole.

The Service Guild has been a Georgia Federated club since 1954, but was in existence prior to that and built the Little Red Schoolhouse, the county's first kindergarten, around 1945, Garrett said.

The Guild meets at noon the fourth Monday of the month at the Little Red Schoolhouse on Newton Drive and welcomes new members. Meetings are halted during the vacation months of June and July and resume in August. For more information on becoming a member, contact Wilma Carey at 678-625-9376. The guild can also be visited on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GFWCServiceGuild and members are planning a website that should be up and running this summer.