On Tuesday evening, the East Ridge Optimist Club hosted a chili and hot dog fundraiser. The proceeds from the event will help provide scholarships to East Ridge students. The event was successful as the club chef Harry Mackey made his delicious chili. The fundraiser featured special guests from the Hamilton County Optimist Club, Optimist International Governor Gwen Gable, and members of the community. During the dinner, club President John Tilley presented Elaine Taylor with the distinguished Optimist of the Year award.
Elaine Taylor wast he perfect choice for this prestigious honor. Elaine grew up in Ringgold, Ga, but moved to East Ridge 56 years ago in 1963. She has impacted thousands of lives as a wife of 61 years, member of Jones Memorial United Methodists Church for 56 years, an educator in Hamilton County for 32 years, a mother of two children, and grandmother of three. Elaine is a skilled artist, published author, former swim instructor, and a former English as a Second Language instructor.
Elaine was also an integral part of working with East Ridge City Council and Optimist member Jim Bethune to build and fund the Vietnam Memorial in front of the City Hall. This project took more than a decade to plan, fund, and build and Elaine made sure it was seen to completion. This is a Memorial that will honor local veterans of the Vietnam War forever.
After John Tilley presented Elaine Taylor with the award, the governor of the Optimist Club addressed the attendees and the meeting adjourned. It was a great evening raising money for a good cause, and honoring a special member of the East Ridge Community.
_ James Gaither