Charlie Butler: A legacy of leadership

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 6, 2001

Features Editor

There are some people who are so dedicated to community service that others seek ways to recognize and honor them.

Charlie Butler is one of those individuals.

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The Brundidge Rotary Club honored him at their annual banquet with a Special Service Award that was created to honor those whose service is never ending, said Rotarian Douglas Botts.

Butler is a past recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow, which is the highest award presented to a Rotarian.

"We wanted to find a way to recognize those who receive awards and then continue to do outstanding work, " Botts said.

"So we created the the Special Service Award and no one deserves it more than Charlie Butler. He has made many contributions to the community through Rotary and he is an outstanding member."

The Brundidge Rotary Club has participated in the Adopt-a-Mile Program for many years and they have remained dedicated to keeping their mile as litter-free as possible.

Botts said Butler is a dependable litter-getter as a member of his four-man team that picks up roadside trash on a rotating basis.

"But, even when he’s just out walking, he carries along a bag and picks up litter as he goes," Botts said. "Charlie always goes the extra mile with whatever he does."

Botts said that Butler is also an excellent fund raiser, especially when it comes to selling Boston butts.

Butler, laughingly said he took his cues from a fellow Rotarian, the late Ralph Dickert.

"Ralph was a good fund raiser," Butler said. "He always kept a list of those who bought from him and went back to those people over and over. So, I started keeping a list of those who bought Boston butts from me and I called on them year after year."

Each year when it was time for the Boston butt sale and the membership was polled, Butler would shock his fellow Rotarians by committing to 65 butt sales on his own.

However, Butler said he was just doing his part – just like every other Rotarian.

"I’m no different for any other Rotarian," he said. "We all believe in service above self, but it’s always good to be recognized, especially by your peers. The Special Service Award took me completely by surprise. I was very honored and very appreciative."

Being a member of the Rotary Club has opened the door to many opportunities for Butler.

As sponsor of the Boy Scout Troop 34 in Brundidge, the Brundidge Rotary Club also provided great leadership to the troop.

Butler was one who committed his time, talents and energy to the troop. from 1962 through 1994.

During his years of service to Scouting – from 1962 through 1994 –

Butler was honored many times.

He was the first recipient of the G.R. Smith award which was created by the Alabama-Florida Council to honor a scoutmaster annually.

"When I got that award, Ralph Dickert said that I wouldn’t be worth a dime after that," Butler said, laughing.

But, he was. And his service was worth much more than a dime.

In addition to being a troop leader, Butler served on the staff of Woodlore Camping School for 20 years. He was tapped for the Order of the Arrow and received the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award presented to a volunteer leader.

Each honor came as a surprise to him. Although he has never sought recognition for his service, he has received it and always humbly and graciously.

One of the greatest honors he has received came from a "brood of Eagles."

On Scout Sunday in February 1988, the Scouts, who had reached the rank of Eagle during Butler’s leadership, presented him with a plaque that read: To our Scoutmaster – a legacy of leadership, Chip Wallace, Cot Wallace, Paul Butler, Mark Butler, Alan Spencer, Mike Boswell and Stark Laney.

"I had no idea anything like that would happen to me," he said. "Just like the Special Service Award – I had no idea. I just hope I am deserving."