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Franklin Jaycee Chapter No. 1 in Virginia

The Franklin Jaycee Chapter (organized in 1946 as the Junior Chamber of Commerce) has been chosen as the most outstanding Jaycee organization in the Commonwealth of Virginia for 1970-1971. The local chapter received the Giessenbier Memorial Trophy which recognizes the one Virginia Jaycee chapter, from among the 142 Jaycee chapters in Virginia, that conducts the most significant and comprehensive community service projects and carries out well-organized and balanced chapter programming. 

The award was presented during the Virginia Jaycees State Convention held at the John Marshall Hotel in Richmond May 21-23. Earlier, judging, based on submitted project documentation, was done by a tri-state committee in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Franklin was in competition with chapters, both small and large, including those located in very large metropolitan areas like Virginia Beach, Richmond, Roanoke, Hampton, Norfolk, Fairfax and Northern Virginia. Five finalists were determined, based on community population ranges: Amelia, Franklin, Harrisonburg, Danville and Virginia Beach. Franklin prevailed over the others.

“We are proud of this honor and the fine community in which we live,” Richard Bowen, 1970-1971 president of the Franklin Jaycees, said as he received the award on behalf of the chapter’s 100 members – and the Franklin-Southampton community. “Through the efforts of every young man who has been a member of this organization during its existence and through the excellent support of the people of the Franklin-Southampton area, this achievement was reached.” Bowen was recognized as one of the top  chapter presidents in Virginia.

Clarence Puckett, the chapter’s state director, added, “Countless hours of hard work by hundreds of Franklin Jaycee members and their wives over the years went into winning this honor. I hope every Jaycee from 1946 to now feels a personal pride as I do. It’s absolutely fantastic!” 

Clyde Parker, 1969-1970 Franklin Jaycee president, said, “To be selected as the most outstanding Jaycee chapter in the state is a most significant achievement. The Franklin chapter has earned the respect and admiration of Jaycees across the state. This recognition is not easy to come by – it is indicative of the community work done by the Franklin chapter. It is also indicative of the support by the fine people and businesses in Franklin-Southampton.” 

Parker was sworn in as a state vice president – representing Region II of the Virginia Jaycees which includes chapters located in Chester, Colonial Heights, Emporia, Franklin, Hopewell, Petersburg, Prince George Federal Reformatory, Smithfield, Southampton Farm, Surry, Waverly and Windsor.

Life memberships in the Virginia Jaycees were presented to Franklin Jaycee members Kenneth Gay, Clyde Parker and Clarence Puckett.

Among the 1,100 people in attendance at the convention were the following from Franklin-Southampton:  President Richard Bowen, Frances Bowen, Administrative Vice President Tommy Joyner, Betty Joyner, Internal Vice President Bobby Stephens, Ann Stephens, External Vice President Harvey McLemore, Judy McLemore, State Director Clarence Puckett, Marie Puckett, Secretary Eddie Phillips, Treasurer Earl Taylor, Director Jim Barnes, Martha Barnes, Director David Flythe, Mary Flythe, Director Russell Darden, Pam Darden, Chairman of the Board Clyde Parker, Chaplain Edgar Parker, Shelby Parker, Records and Recognition Chairman Scotty Whitley, Danny Burden, Jackie Burden, Kenneth Gay, Iola Gay, Owen Gillette, Ann Gillette, Coleman Holland, Al Hunter, Richard Duck, Jack Drewry and Phillip Bowen. 

Jim Wagenbach, of Franklin, Jaycees International Senator and former National Director of the United States Jaycees, was also in attendance. 

Also attending the meeting, in conjunction with the Franklin delegation, were President Ray Crum and External Vice President Hobart Shields of the Southampton Farm Jaycees. 

Former Virginia Governor Mills Godwin was guest speaker at the Saturday awards luncheon.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is magnolia101@charter.net.