Pilot Club of Andalusia installs new officers, board of directors

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, June 28, 2023

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The Pilot Club of Andalusia installed new officers and members to its Board of Directors for 2023-2024 during its monthly meeting Monday, June 26, at the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mellisa King, left, was recognized as the Pilot Club’s immediate past president by her successor, Meredith Harlos. (PHOTO BY ZACK MAIO)

Mellisa King, immediate past president, presided over the induction ceremony and will remain on the Board of Directors.

“I am so honored to have served as the Pilot Club president this past year. We accomplished so many things last year. We made 100 fidget blankets for district convention, volunteered at Cookies with Characters, gave money to the school nurses in our county, Mental Health Center, and the Full Tummy Project, just to name a few. We love our community and strive to be visible and contribute back. We also gained 11 new members,” King said.

A Pilot Club member since 2008, she reflected on her time as the organization’s leader.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my term. We could never have accomplished all we did without everyone working together. It has been a wonderful year.”

Meredith Harlos, a member for seven years, will succeed King for two years as president.

“It’s great that all of my Pilot Club members believe in me this much. To know they think I can do this job is an awesome feeling. I don’t think I could have had a better person to follow than Mellisa. She has taught me everything I need to know, and I feel very comfortable in the position,” Harlos said.

With children ages 3 and 5, she added that having the organization’s support means a lot.

“In Pilot Club, something we stress about a lot, and even at this meeting, we are very family-oriented. My children come to the meetings, and everybody here loves them. Mellisa has really shown me that we are a family and a community.”

Harlos said her goals would be to continue seeing an increase in the number of members and expand on the Pilot Club’s events.

“This is a big goal, and last year, we had the most we have had in several years. If we can do even more than that, it would be a great goal. We have our big Pancake Day and brought back the Picnic on the Square. I’m not sure if we’ll add any new events but advance those two events more,” she said.

She is glad to have been born and raised in Andalusia and serve as a physical therapist.

“Our family has firm roots here in Covington County. This is where my children are going to live. It makes a difference to me being able to help the people we help with brain injuries, cerebral palsy, strokes, and I see patients with those on a daily basis. I know what this club can do to help them,” Harlos added.

King praised her successor and wished her well. “Meredith is a great leader. She will continue to lead our club to do more, care more, and be more.”

Marianne Wilder was elected to become the new vice president and has been a member for over 20 years.

“I was in the Luncheon Pilot Club for several years until it disbanded. I was president in that club and held other positions, so I’m familiar with what is expected. I love the Pilot Club and what we do. I’m looking forward to an even bigger club and feel like we make a huge impact on the community,” Wilder said.

Shannon Hudson was elected to serve as the new secretary and has been a member for three years.

“I am excited to learn more about the business aspects of Pilot Club. I want to have a bigger impact on the club and be partially responsible for coming up with new ideas and ways to impact our own community. I’m thankful this organization gives me something to do as an empty nester, and it’s a way to give back to my community not being from here originally. It’s sometimes hard to get involved, so this is a good way to meet people, be involved, and feel like you’re doing something worthwhile and meaningful,” Hudson said.

Angelina Jenkins was elected to become the new treasurer and has also been a member for three years.

“I am very excited to help the club and make sure we stay on our financial aspects and see the view, so we can do more. My husband had an issue from 2004 to 2006 where he had a brain tumor, and it caused him to have seizures. It causes epilepsy, and I feel it’s important for people with traumatic brain injury or even children with TBI to get help. If they don’t, it can be very overwhelming. I’m glad this club helps those and different organizations in the city that they deal with. Most organizations only do 15 to 20 percent, but the Pilot Club gives a lot to help. That makes a difference because we are not paid to do what we do, and we take what position we are assigned to heart,” Jenkins said.

Renee Maio has been a member for five years. She was selected to complete the final year of Jenkins’ two-year term. “I look forward to working with my Pilot sisters to continue to help our community and grow our club. I am grateful to be part of a club that gives back to the community,” Maio said.

Betty Davis has been a member for 10 months and was selected to serve a two-year term on the Board of Directors. “I’m able to serve my community and broaden my horizons. My mother and mother-in-law both had Alzheimer’s, so I know what’s it like to be a caregiver. This organization is near and dear to my heart. I am very excited to learn more about the Pilot Club by being on the Board of Directors and all that we have to offer,” Davis said.

Cynthia Peebles was also selected to serve a two-year term but absent from the meeting.

A Pilot Club for three years, Samantha Gann will complete the second year of her term on the Board of Directors.

“I love the closeness of our group and feel like we are one big family. The money we raise towards helping individuals with brain-related injuries, Alzheimer’s, and others is very near and dear to us. I’m so glad I can do as much as I possibly can for this club. I hope I am able to put 100 percent and make sure we run smoothly while helping as many people as possible,” Gann said.

The newly elected president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer positions will be for two-year terms effective July 1. As part of their new responsibilities, each officer added a plant to a planter that was presented to Harlos upon completion.

The next monthly meeting for the Pilot Club will be held Monday, July 24, 5:30 p.m., at the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information visit the Pilot Club of Andalusia Facebook page.