Crestview Women’s Club recognized as Okaloosa historical site

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Fleming served as president twice and district director twice for the club. When asked to name one of the most memorable things the club has done, she mentioned how they got the State Road 85 overpass built above the Main Street railroad tracks in the 1970s.

RENEE BELL Crestview News Bulletin Editorial Assistant cnbrenee

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CRESTVIEW — A dedication marking the GFWC Crestview Women’s Club Inc.’s 100 years took place Aug. 8 at its club house. The CWC is part of the Greater Federation of Women’s Clubs, an international organization whose members work to better their communities.

The brief ceremony began as Club President Jeri Jones welcomed attendees and introduced Crestview Historic Preservation Board member Ann Spann. They recognized guests present at the event, including Crestview Council member JB Whitten; County Commissioners Carolyn Ketchel and Graham Fountain; and one of the club’s oldest members, Nellie Fleming, who will be 92 in October.

Fleming served as president twice and district director twice for the club. When asked to name one of the most memorable things the club has done, she mentioned how they got the State Road 85 overpass built above the Main Street railroad tracks in the 1970s.

“I was so happy about that,” she said. “We went over to Tallahassee and talked to them representatives all the time. We tried to get the county commissioners to take it and do it and help us, and they wouldn’t do it.

“So we went on and did it and said, ‘We’ll show you,’ and we showed ’em,” Fleming said. The club was going to use the overpass construction as part of the impetus to win a $5,000 national GFWC award, but the county commission claimed credit for the overpass, eliminating the group’s chance at the money, according to Fleming.

Despite the loss, the overpass has been a boon for drivers wanting to avoid long wait times at the railroad tracks. Fleming’s daughter, Theresa Riley, participated in town parades as a school cheerleader in those days, and trains were a problem. “We could have a parade, and it would come through, and it’d be the longest train,” she said.

Club outreach

The CWC raises money for scholarships and community needs. One of its concerns is providing necessities and entertainment to Crestview Manor residents. They provide bingo games once a month for the residents, and just donated 90 sets of towels for them, club member Kathy Neidig said.

They work with Richbourg and Riverside Elementary Schools as volunteers, donate school items to fill needs not provided by the county, and also donate to other charities and charitable activities, like Heifer International and medical mission trips to Belize.

Members mentor women’s club Juniorettes at Crestview High School, and each year they present a $500 scholarship to a Juniorette. Judges not affiliated with the CWC choose the winner based on what the students have accomplished through volunteer work, grades and activities through the year, according to Neidig.

The majority of the money for their community outreach activities come from Sunday dinners once a month at the club house. Meals usually cost $10 per person, and consist of a different menu every month.

The next dinner is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 13 at 150 Woodlawn Drive, Crestview. Chicken and dumplings, veggies, salad, cranberry sauce, assorted desserts, coffee and iced tea will be served. The Sept. 10 menu contains stuffed pork chops. Members will determine the side dishes for that meal at a later date.

Members meet in the spring, fall and winter. Visit http://www.gfwccrestview.com for more information.

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