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Gold featured speaker at annual Bama Club event

The Carl Morgan Convention Center will be draped in crimson and white May 4 as the Dallas/ Wilcox Chapter of the University of Alabama National Alumni Association, or the “Bama Club,” as members have named it, will host its annual meeting.

Ronnie Leet, the chapter’s president, says the group consists of both alumni and fans of the Crimson Tide from Dallas and Wilcox Counties. The club won chapter of the year honors amongst clubs its size in 2007 and 2008.

“We want to try to include everybody that’s an Alabama fan,” said Leet, who has also served on the board of University of Alabama National Alumni Association and is in his “sixth or seventh” stint as president of the local chapter.

This year’s speaker for the event will be the “Voice of the Crimson Tide,” Eli Gold. Gold has served as the radio play-by-play voice for Bama’s football program since 1988. He’s also been a member of NASCAR’s Motor Racing Network for 33 years and has or continues to hold affiliations with NBC, CBS, ESPN, and FOX.

Four times Gold was named “Alabama Sportscaster of the Year” by his peers in the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and has twice been named Alabama Sportscaster of the Year by the Associated Press.

Beyond the fellowship for Bama fans the gathering offers, Leet said one of the main purposes of the meeting is to award scholarships to incoming freshmen of the University of Alabama.

“We have four endowed scholarships from this area that generate interest that can be used to fund these scholarships,” he said, adding “The criteria for awarding the scholarships are based on recommendations from the university, but we have total autonomy on who we can pick.”

Leet said the selection committee works to award scholarships to students attending the University of Alabama who may not already be getting scholarship funds from other sources.

The four current endowed scholarships are: the Sam Earle Hobbs Endowed Scholarship; Sterling Price Rainer Memorial Endowed Scholarship; Blackbelt Endowed Scholarship and the Betty Jean Perkins McKelvey Memorial Endowed Scholarship.

Leet said another scholarship, the Doris and Henry Plant Scholarship, is in place and is expected to begin being used to endow additional scholarship funds soon.

The scholarship recipients, who will be announced at the event, will receive $1,200 each.

Buddy Perkins, whose family established the Betty Jean Perkins McKelvey scholarship in honor of his late sister who died from cancer at 42, said the scholarship is a way he, his wife and his late sister’s two grown children can continue to honor her.

“She grew up in Tuscaloosa, attended the University of Alabama and this was a way of perpetuating the memory of a person who was real special to us.”

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and tickets can be purchased for $20 each from any Bama Club member or at the door. Food and refreshments will be served and there will also be a silent auction.