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Rotary Club to rededicate Camellia Park at ceremony

The Rotary Club of Thomson will rededicate Camellia Park at noon today.

Work continued over the weekend on a new sign to overlook the park beside the Thomson Fire Station on Main Street.

The club will meet at the fire station at noon today for its regular weekly meeting. Instead of the fare that Rotarians usually enjoy at Thomson Depot, they will be treated to traditional New Year's fare, courtesy of the Thomson Fire Department. Lunch will include pork, black-eyed peas, collards and cornbread.

"They can do some serious cooking," said Dot Knox, who was the local club president when the international Rotary Club celebrated its centennial in 2005.

Special guests at the ceremony will include family members of Army Sgt. Maj. Jerry L. Wilson, of Thomson, who was killed in fighting in Iraq. A monument in the park honors the fallen soldier.

Mrs. Knox said her husband, then-Mayor Bob Knox, suggested the slope beneath the fire station as an area that could be improved. Dirt was brought in as fill, and other trees were placed.

"The idea was to try to highlight the features of the community," she said.

A wooden sign to be erected on the new brick mantel will show off the Camellia City's namesake flower, she said.

"We put in a lot of camellias; that was the idea," she said.

She said much of the credit for the original project should go to Mayor Kenneth Usry and Doug Kier, the CEO of McDuffie Regional Medical Center.

Augusta Tech students helped place the stones for the park's ornate centerpiece, she said. The fountain was added soon after the park's dedication.

Since then, she said, "We've had several work days and cleaned up."

Mrs. Knox said the combined efforts of the Rotary and volunteers made the park exceeded her original expectations.

A monument in Camellia Park honors a fallen soldier from Thomson. Members of Sgt. Maj. Jerry Lee Wilson's family are expected to attend the rededication.

Web posted on Thursday, January 06, 2011

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