Edwards named Rotarian of the Year

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 9, 2005

Henry Guy Edwards tried his best to avoid being named the Luverne Rotary Club's Edward L. Turner Rotarian of the Year.

"I kindly let them know that I didn't want this," said Edwards.

But unknown to Edwards, who said he served on the board to select each year's top Rotarian, President Ed Billings had set aside an independent committee to select this year's honoree.

Billings said Edwards received overwhelming nomination and support from both the committee and his fellow Rotarians.

"He goes above and beyond what's asked of him," said Billings of Edwards. "He was a very easy choice and very deserving not only because of what he's done for Rotary but also for what he's done for this town."

Although it was undesired, Edwards said he valued being recognized by his fellow Rotarians.

"I feel like there's more people who are entitled to it," he said. "But I certainly appreciate them thinking of me."

Edwards has been a member of Rotary since 1965 and considers himself, not just a Luverne resident, but also a resident of Crenshaw County. He grew up in Honoraville and still owns a house in the small community. He moved to Luverne in 1970 as plant manager for Luverne Slacks, a subsidiary of Oxford Industries.

"I started there in 1957 right after I got out of high school," said Edwards, who attended Highland Home. "I worked my way up and was named plant manager in 1965. I loved my employees. Our plant was a family. We had good people there."

The plant closed in December of 1998 as a majority of textile manufacturers moved south to Mexico and overseas to take advantage of the cheaper labor.

Edwards currently owns and operates the Friendly City Outlet, but said he 'doesn't work like he used to.' The store is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

"It's sort of like a hobby of mine," he said. "I didn't want to just quit after I retired and the plant closed. I may hire me a part-time person because business is really picking up around town. But I don't want to quit. I want to have a purpose to get up and go because I think that's important to keep your mind alert."

Serving his community through Rotary also gives Edwards that purpose.

"I've enjoyed Rotary," he said. "Rotary does a lot of good. It allows you to know the community and leaders of the community. I'm very prejudiced about Rotary and I think it's the best club out there."