Lodge misses fundraiser ‘top salesman,’ who’s battling H1N1

Published 1:07 am Friday, February 7, 2014

An Andalusia man currently fighting the H1N1 flu virus at UAB Hospital has not been forgotten by his friends and family back home – in fact, his presence is sorely missed.

Clark Sanders, a member of the Stokes Masonic Lodge No. 609 in Pleasant Home, said an upcoming Boston butt sale is just another reminder of how much Teddy Watts is missed as he continues to struggle with his illness.

Sanders said he and many other lodge members are working to help bridge the large gap in sales left by Watts, who was always dedicated to community projects such as the Boston butt event, which raises money for scholarships.

“(Teddy’s) been really instrumental in a lot here,” Sanders said. “He’s probably the most involved when it comes to doing things for us and getting things done.”

Sanders, one of the lodge’s younger members, said Watts is a role model and a staple of the group, which makes his absence all the more difficult.

“I’ve got the utmost respect for him,” Sanders said. “He’s a very strong man. He’s really influential with the way he carries himself. He’s really impacted the way that I see Masonry.”

Watts is currently continuing his fight with pneumonia and other complications brought on by the H1N1 flu virus. In early January, Watts and his wife, Shelline, each came down with “the crud.” But while Shelline improved over time, her husband’s conditioned worsened, eventually landing him in critical condition at UAB, and relying on heart-lung bypass machines for last-resort therapy.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Shelline Watts said her husband is improving, but is not quite out of the woods.

“He was alert and awake enough today to respond to questions,” she wrote. “(He) seemed a bit calmer, still just very uncomfortable. The doctor reminded me this afternoon that even though he is improving, his condition is still critical.”

Meanwhile, members of Watts’ lodge are working to carry on without him, and praying he will rejoin them soon.

Sanders said the group is comforted to know that Watts has a wonderful family and support group helping him through his ordeal, but added the lodge would be quick to act, should a need arise.

“Right now, it’s really all about moral support, I think,” he said. “But if something were to happen, it would be first and foremost on our minds.”

Shelline Watts this week used social media to ask her friends to support the annual sale.

“(Teddy’s) sales usually average around 25 to 30 butts,” she said. “He is totally unaware that this weekend – SATURDAY- is time for the lodge to cook again. He doesn’t even know it’s February!”

She asked that her husband’s “customers,” and friends who want to help him help this cause, call Sanders at 334-343-5505. The butts are $25 each, and generally are available for pick-up in town around noon.