Rotary Citizen of the Year

Published 12:12 am Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On Monday afternoon, Art Scroggins received the Selma Rotary Club’s highest bestowable honor during the group’s weekly meeting at the St. James Hotel.

As Ramsey Knight approached the podium to introduce Scroggins as the club’s Citizen of the Year, he made it clear that he knew talking Scroggins into accepting the award would be difficult, citing his preference to do good deeds under the radar and not receive recognition.

“We told him [he was going to be the recipient], and he looked us both in the eye, and he said, ‘Y’all don’t need to do this. There are other people that are more deserving,’” said Knight.

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“He has a quiet dignity. Art is sensitive to the true and genuine needs of others, and he acts those needs as they rise. How many people do you know that would do that? Few and far between.”

Scroggins, who has been with Alabama Power for 37 years and serves as the company’s operating manager for Selma, Clanton and Greenville, sat near the club’s head table with his wife, Dale, and sons, David and Scott, as a seemingly endless line of coworkers, friends and relatives approached the podium to heap praise on him for his actions and role in the community.

Rhonda Brown, Alabama Power district manager for the southern division; Kenny Coleman, Alabama Power vice southern division vice president; and Kim Williams, electrical delivery manager for Selma’s Alabama Power branch, were the first to speak.

“The city of Selma has no better citizen than Art Scroggins,” said Brown. “He’s always working to make Selma better. He has a servant’s heart. Anything he can do for you, he’s always there.”

Coleman added, “37 years — that says more about Art than anything else.”

Williams remembered Scroggins’ help when she moved to Selma. He told her to worry about getting settled first, because “work will still be there.”

“He symbolizes the Rotary motto: Service above self,” she said.

Scroggins’ sister, Pat Merrett, and family friend, Bill Asher, were next to approach.

Merrett told stories about the two growing up together, but closed the speech with echoing remarks.

“I don’t have to tell you what kind of person Art is,” she said. “All I know is he’s someone I can depend on.”

Asher added, “Art is not just a good man. He’s civic-minded.”

Scroggans took it all in stride, cracking smiles and laughing at the stories that were shared with the crowd. However, even more so, as Knight described earlier, he carried himself with a quiet dignity.

“I wish I could take credit for all this, but I can’t. I don’t see myself as having done anything special,” said Scroggins. “You can always categorize people as those who see the glass half-full or the glass half-empty. I’ve always tried to see it half-full, be that positive person.”

He was presented a plaque and deemed a Paul Harris fellow, an award often tacked onto Citizen of the Year Award. Having already won the Paul Harris award once, he was given a jeweled pin in recognition.

“Art does a lot of things below the radar,” said Rotary Club President Bob Myers. “He doesn’t want the accolades. He just sees it as doing what’s right and what’s good.”