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Club Chronicles: Book Lovers Study Club plans annual Walk to Wellness

The GFWC Book Lovers Study Club held its October meeting at Russellville First Baptist Church. Hostesses were Brenda Oliver, Lela Ray and myself.

The Book Lovers Breast Cancer Awareness and Fundraiser Walk will be held Nov. 1-7. Due to COVID-19, participants will walk on their own or in small groups and post their pictures on the Book Lovers Walk to Wellness Facebook page.

Registration is $20, which includes a T-shirt – for the first 75 to register – and a face mask that can be picked up at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Make checks payable to Book Lovers Study Club.

The walk will benefit women on their journey to wellness. This fundraiser has allowed the Book Lovers Club to donate more than $2,400 to the Russellville Hospital, BRATS Cancer Fund, cancer survivors and Cancer Relay.

The program, “Empowering Women Veterans to Live Well Through Our Support and Aid,” was presented by Brenda Oliver. Her program focused on the importance of the ROTC and JROTC.

More than 40 years ago, women were not a part of the Army ROTC program in the United States. Today, women account for 20 percent of the program and 14.5 percent of the entire active-duty force.

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is a military training program for students who are enrolled in a college or university. Students interested in U.S. Armed Forces service at an early age can also gain military training through Junior ROTC programs offered at the high school level.

The goal of the ROTC is to train future officers to serve in the Armed Forces and to become better American citizens. For students who qualify, ROTC offers scholarships that cover the cost of their education. In exchange, there is an expectation that students fulfill active duty services in their chosen branch of the Armed Forces.

The passage of the National Defense Act of 1916 united military training resources under a single federal umbrella. This act allowed high schools and colleges to obtain military training instructors and supply funding from a single ROTC organization.

Congress appropriates money for these ROTC programs; however, funding is competitive, and our legislators have to work on a continuous basis to maintain funding for these ROTC programs.

Locally, Russellville City Schools offers JROTC training, and the University of North Alabama ROTC is one of the oldest and best leadership courses in the country.

Book Lovers Study Club members are encouraged to contact legislators and request them to continue providing the necessary appropriations for the UNA ROTC and the RCS JROTC.

In the meantime, Book Lovers will continue making contributions to the GFWC-AFWC Women Veterans Scholarship and establish a scholarship for a senior girl in the Russellville City School JROTC program.

Socktober is another club project. Members donated 114 pairs of socks for the local DHR Foster Children’s Program. DHR was very appreciative of this donation and would love to partner with us for other needs in the future.

Club members also donated fabric for the Quilts of Valor project. The fabric will be delivered to the Three Hens and a Chick quilting store in Athens, where quilts are handmade for veterans through the National Quilts for Valor Organization. The mission of the Quilts of Valor is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.