For more than 65 years, the Newberry Exchange Club has been swapping ideas and goodwill to benefit the community.
Since the Newberry group was formed in 1946, they have worked for the youth, community and country and making folks less hungry with their turkey stew fundraiser.
In fact, this year they have received an award for the top club in the state and also received a newsletter award.
Despite the awards and recognitions, they keep moving forward to better serve others.
The club is very youth oriented. For one, they recognize youths of the month from the area high schools and the youth of the year is selected to represent the club at a state level. The club does also recognize teachers of the year.
The club likes to invite the youth each month, while school is session, to their club meetings and recognize them with a plaque.
Other ways they help the youth is with a Little League baseball team that plays for the city’s park and recreation, a Boys Farm banquet, Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts.
As with many clubs, there is a major project that they are behind. For the Exchange Club, that mission project is the prevention of child abuse.
One way that the club has recently aided this project is by helping out the organization Sistercare with a grant.
However, while the club can harp upon all they do to help others, they are not a glutton for pride and boasting. The 33 member club, which consists of all men, enjoys the time they spend together whether it’s at an official meeting or not.
While the club does consist of just guys at the moment, they are not exclusively a guy only organization. They would love to welcome other women to help balance out the ratio. They would also love to welcome younger members to help keep the club continuing throughout the years.
In fact the club does have ladies night once a quarter at their regular meetings in which they invite their spouses and any of their wives friends if they want to come.
A couple of board of directors, Jack Briggs and Robert Renwick along with current president Donnie Sligh and Bobby Shealy enjoy the camaraderie of the club as well as being able to give back to the community.
Shealy says they do at least one thing a month and at every meeting, they have speakers to speak on different topics.
For example, past topics included the SCE&G, recycling, Living Hope, Newberry hospital and many other topics that members may find interesting.
Their meeting spot is right on Lake Murray and while people may have to travel a bit to get to the twice a month meetings, it’s agreed upon that it’s worth going a little distance.
While there is a membership fee, it helps with the maintenance of the clubhouse as well as with the club. They are not the only ones who use their facility, after all.
Since they face the lake, they do rent out their meeting space. Most recently, they let another service group, the Shrine Club, use their area to raise money for the Shriners hospital.
As Shealy says, giving back to the community is a prime reason he’s a part of the close knit group and people are willing to help out.
Briggs also points out the diversity of the group which ranges from those who have retired to educators, farmers, bankers and other professionals, contractors, law enforcement officers, public service workers and the list can go on.
The group is made up of people who work hard and do good, he emphasizes.
One thing they do aim to work towards is the emphasis of God and country and they speak on this every year with their program, One Nation under God, according to Briggs.
Patriotism and loyalty is important the club and every Fourth of July, they hand out American flags at the fireworks show at Newberry High.
The Exchange club is looking forward to another year as their new year began July 1. Anyone who wishes to get involved may contact an Exchange member or visit the website at www.scexchangeclubs.com.
They meet the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7:30 p.m. at their clubhouse located on Lake Murray at Wilson Landing Road off Macedonia Church Road.