Exchange Clubs join forces for Make A Difference Day
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Members of Copperas Cove’s Noon Exchange Club and the Exchange Club of Copperas Cove, along with the student cubs EXCEL and HUTS joined forces on Saturday morning to take care of some tree and brush trimming, and landscape maintenance at the Sunshine Home Apartments on Leonhard Street.
Each year, the clubs participate in National Make A Difference Day, held the fourth Saturday of October.
They came armed with tree trimmers, chain saws, rakes, shovels and gloves to help them trim the vines and underbrush at one corner of the apartment complex’s property.
Also on Saturday, the two student groups affiliated with the Noon Exchange Club also came to help clean up part of the outdoor patio and rock garden near the building’s pavilion.
At the culmination of the morning’s work, the clubs gathered to dedicate two Monterey oak trees which were planted on the property, in honor of late Exchangites Wayne Turner and L.O. “Bud” Owsley.
Turner, a veteran and retired Copperas Cove educator, passed away on September 6. He was one of the founders and the first club president of the Exchange Club of Copperas Cove.
Also honored on Saturday was the late Bud Owsley, who passed away on June 6 of this year. A former city council member and economic development corporation board member, Owsley also was an Exchange Club member for many years, having served in local, state and national positions with the Exchange Club.
“There’s not even words for what Wayne and Bud have done over the last 40-plus years for the Exchange Club and with the Sunshine Home,” said Morning Exchange Club president Ronnie Viss spoke during a brief ceremony held between the two oak trees.
“We want the families to know that we acknowledge what an awesome contribution their families have made to the Exchange Club and to the Copperas Cove and to the residents that live here in this beautiful Sunshine Home.”
Turner’s wife, Nancy, was present to accept a framed certificate that confirms her late husband’s lifetime membership to the Exchange Club, something that Viss said the club had previously voted on unanimously and were working to present to him.
Owsley’s family was unable to be present for the tree dedication, but Turner said she would make sure the family received a framed certificate for Owsley, which included a 45-year Exchange Club membership pin in the frame.
Al Castillo was present for the ceremony and also said a few words about his fellow Exchangites being honored
“I had the privilege of being president of the Morning club when we broke ground for this place. I can tell you that Wayne and Bud were the key to the whole thing getting done,” Castillo said, noting that both men worked hard on the permitting processes and all the paperwork that had to be completed and filed with the state to make the apartment complex a reality.
“They made many trips down there to the state at their own expense. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here at this place.”
Ira Brand, a Noon Exchange Club member, talked about the impact the two men made on him as part of the club.
“They kind of took me under their wings and made me feel comfortable, at home. Those are some of my fondest memories with exchange. You go to a new club, and you don’t know anybody there. They made it welcoming and comfortable….They have made the Exchange Club what it is today.”
Brand also noted the number of young people volunteering on Saturday morning. “I can remember the first time I came out here to work in this yard, and I was the youngest person here.”
The Sunshine Home Apartments are operated by the Exchange Clubs as income-based housing and have 49 one-bedroom units, which lease to elderly tenants.