Behind the banter of Roy Gandy and Rodney Chandler that had an early morning crowd laughing Saturday was the familiar sound of Rotary — saws and nail guns.
A crew of Rotary Club workers took about 30 minutes to build the club’s 500th ramp Saturday, an addition to the porch of Annie Mae Jarrells, a 90-year-old who recently lost a portion of her leg. Jarrell’s daughter, Phyllis, said the ramp will make their lives much better.
“It (the ramp) will mean a great deal,” she said. “When I first brought her home (after surgery), I had to call 9-1-1 to get her in the house. This will be a great blessing. We greatly appreciate it.”
Rotary leaders say they enjoy meeting the recipients of the ramps and learning about their lives.
The 500th ramp recipient was born to Martha Scott and Jerry Maxwell in Danielsville on Dec. 24, 1921. She had five siblings: Hart, Ella, Herbert, Fannie and Oscar Maxwell. Annie Mae attended the old Tabors Chapel School and is still a faithful member of Tabors Chapel CME Church. She worked on a farm in Danielsville and was also employed at sewing plants in Athens and Ila.
Jarrells was married twice and had seven children: Daniel Maxwell, David Maxwell, Elizabeth Maxwell, Otis Daniel, Johnnie Ann Daniel, Diane Daniel and Phyllis Jarrells.
Jarrells enjoyed gardening and baking cakes, including her specialties — caramel and red velvet.
Numerous officials were on hand Saturday to commemorate the Rotary’s 500th ramp, including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who put on a blue Rotary hard hat and fastened some boards with a nail gun.
Cagle addressed the large gathering and said it “thrills my heart” to be on hand for the ceremony.
“I wish every morning could start like this,” said Cagle. “It catches all of our hearts to make a difference in someone’s life, to make life a little easier for a wonderful deserving woman.”
Cagle praised Madison County for its willingness to help others.
“It speaks to the character and integrity of the community,” he said. “… All of us have had people sacrifice for us and it’s up to us to do the same. Thank you for what you do and I encourage you to continue in your efforts.”