Civitans give to PC memorial project
Civic organizations are known for helping others, but this week, one local civic club decided they could help out the community by helping a sister organization raise money for a project that will provide a place for citizens to gather to honor the victims of the April 27 tornado.
On Tuesday, the Russellville Civitans presented a check for $1,000 to the Phil Campbell Civitans to go toward the Phil Campbell Memorial Park project that the Phil Campbell Civitans have been working on since September.
“The Phil Campbell Civitans put $800 of their own money towards this project and they issued a challenge to other Civitan chapters in the North Alabama district to match what they had raised and donate it to the park,” Russellville Civitan president Stratt Byars said.
“Phil Campbell is the closest Civitan chapter to us and our board met and thought it would be a good thing to reach out to our neighbors.
“All our members wanted to help support this worthy cause so we started taking up money before Christmas and we were glad we could actually exceed the $800 goal.”
Bruce Forman, president of the Phil Campbell Civitans, said donations like this and from other groups and individuals such as AlabamForever.org, Alabama Power and Sen. Roger Bedford are what has turned the idea of a memorial park into a reality.
“When you’re trying to raise money for something like this, you can’t ask for money from the people in the area that’s been destroyed so we’ve really had to depend on outside sources,” Forman said.
“We have had so many people help us with this project by donating money or services and we couldn’t have done it without them. Whether it was a large donation or just donations of $10 or $20, every little bit has brought us closer to our goal.”
Forman added that Florence craftsman Robin Wade is also working on four, hand-carved benches made from Cypress wood that he will donate to the park as well.
The Phil Campbell Memorial Park will be located in the vacant lot between the Chat ‘n’ Chew and the old barber shop in downtown Phil Campbell and will be a place where people can go to reflect on the memories of the loved ones they lost and remember how far they have come since that fateful day on April 27.
“This is going to be something so special for our community,” Forman said. “It will be something everyone can enjoy and it will be a symbol of the rebuilding so many of our town’s citizens have gone through.”
Forman said the plans for the park include a small playground, a play area, a fountain, a granite memorial for victims of the April 27 tornado and a memorial for the town’s veterans.
“The walkway leading into the park will also feature bricks from the old high school that they plan to tear down,” he said. “We’re also selling memorial brick that anyone can purchase that will be in between the bricks from the high school.”
Forman said they should have the playground assembled the first week in February and hoped to have the memorial park completed by April 28, which is when they wanted to have the dedication.
Those interested in purchasing a memorial brick for $25 to be placed in the park’s walkway can contact Forman at 256-668-4617 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates on the park’s progress can also be found at the Phil Campbell Memorial Facebook page.