THOMASVILLE -- The new officers of the Exchange Club of Thomasville will be installed Thursday in the presence of a special guest.

National President Augustus M. "Gus" Parker, a member of the Exchange Club of Macon, will attend the ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Thomasville Exchange Club Fairgrounds.

Parker doesn't make it to all of the club's induction ceremonies -- about 870 clubs in the continental United States, Puerto Rico and Hawaii -- but has chosen to visit Thomasville.

"I'm honored to be installing the new officers of the Exchange Club of Thomasville," said Parker, who has been national president since August 2002. "The club is an important part of the success of Exchange, and I'm sure they will continue in their efforts and hard work through our programs of service to make Thomasville a better place to live."

The club's focus is on Americanism, community service, youth activities and child abuse prevention. Past president and lifetime member Alex Crittenden invited Parker and said this is the first time a current national president will attend a local meeting. Crittenden joined the 60-member club 54 years ago, he said, because he wanted to be part of a group that benefits the community.

"I love to serve the community, and I love to be a member of a club that is interested in Americanism," he said.

Andy Ponder has been president of the Thomasville Exchange Club for the past year and is handing over his title Thursday to incoming president Dannie Rogers. Ponder has been a member for six years and said one big project completed this year has been the renovation of the fountain at the Vashti Center.

"We've been dragging it out for several years, and we finally did that," he said of the project. The club also has recently placed a freedom shrine at Southwest Georgia Technical College and handed out 1,500 small American flags at the Rose Bud Parade. The club routinely gives donations to the YMCA and helps support school band and student-of-the-month programs.

"We do a lot of good," said Ponder. "We donate money to a lot of different organizations."

The following people will officially take office Thursday:

Dannie Rogers, president

Richard Cook, vice president

Keith Godwin, secretary/treasurer

Jimmy Stegall, chaplain

The following people also will take office of the Deep South Fair Association Thursday:

Jimmy Dukes, president

Gary Aldridge, vice president

Jeff Jones, secretary

Eddie Freeman, treasurer

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