Ten years after acceptance, women lead Rotary

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 7, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. — It’s not a man thing or a woman thing — it’s a Rotary thing.

That is what the four female members of the Ferriday Rotary Club’s board had to say about their induction to the club’s board, which took place June 29.

Few members dispute that the naming of the club’s first female president, Concordia Parish Police Juror Cathy Darden, is a milestone.

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But Darden and the board’s other female members don’t see much reason to tout the fact that they are women in positions of authority.

In fact, to them the story is that regardless of the fact that they are women, they now have more of an opportunity than ever to give back to the community — and to the club that has given them so much.

&uot;I&160;really don’t look at it as a male/female thing, to be honest,&uot; Darden said Thursday after presiding over her first full meeting as president. &uot;We’re all people, and we’re all Rotarians.&uot;

When the club decided in 1990 to admit women, five new members were initially invited to join, said Lloyd Love, a longtime club member and past district governor.&160;

Those were Darden; Jeanine Herrington, now president-elect; Rena Pitts, first vice president; Ann Siddall, second vice president; and Jerri Sue Tosspon, who is not yet a board member.

Other current board members include Immediate Past President Jerry Williams and Secretary-Treasurer Don Tate.

&uot;I always try to be civic-oriented, and I was honored (to be invited),&uot;&160;Darden said.

&uot;But I didn’t know what to expect because I&160;had never been to any of the meetings.&uot;

Originally, Darden was told that Rotarians met mostly met for lunch and fellowship – and she said she has enjoyed that aspect of membership. But along the way, being a Rotarian has grown to mean much more to her.

&uot;For one thing, it is a chance to serve. And I’ve learned many different things through Rotary, things that have helped me with my career,&uot;&160;said Darden, who works for the Macon Ridge Economic Development Region.

Tosspon, who said she is looking forward to her chance to serve on the board, agreed.

&uot;I’ve enjoyed it, all the business contacts and friendships I’ve made and all the projects I’ve been involved in,&uot;&160;Tosspon said.

&uot;It’s a little bit different than any other organization in which I’ve been involved.&uot;

If anything, said Pitts, being a board member is an opportunity to expand the Rotary Club’s service programs even further to continue to make a difference in the community.

&uot;I really do think we’ll make a difference,&uot;&160;Pitts said.

And for his part, Love believes those members who joined 10 years ago are now a good addition to the board.

&uot;They’re such fine people, good Rotarians and good members of the Ferriday club in particular,&uot;&160;Love said.

&uot;Cathy is a good citizen, as demonstrated by the things she’s done for the community. And I would expect that type of effort in the coming year, too.&uot;

Herrington would not comment and Siddall was unavailable for comment.