Lexington Sertoma Club
The Lexington Sertoma Club, a non-profit 501-c-3 organization, annually conducts a celebration of the great USC-Clemson football rivalry – which in 1959 and before was played on a Thursday during State Fair week in October – to hold this fun and exciting community event. Through corporate sponsorships, tickets sales, and a silent & live auction Big Thursday raises funds for very worthwhile causes. Net proceeds are “given back” by Sertoma to the Lexington community in the form of worthy charities and projects with an emphasis on hearing and speech health. For example, a portion of the funds will be used to send local, underprivileged children who have hearing and/or speech impairments to Camp Sertoma, a top quality camping experience for children who may otherwise never have an opportunity to enjoy the fun and challenges of a top quality camping experience. Trained counselors from area colleges and universities (a camper/counselor ratio of 3 to 1) lead the children during the week-long camp. The camp is held every summer on Lake Hartwell in the South Carolina Upstate, and runs for six weeks with different sets of children from throughout the state attending each week. A total of 240 children attend the camp every summer (40 campers per week). It is quite fulfilling to see children enter the camp on Sunday with a timid demeanor, and then the following Saturday see the same children beaming with smiles because of their week-long experiences and accomplishments.
As with previous successful Big Thursday gatherings, this year’s celebration will again be held at the Lexington Municipal Conference Center on October 20, 2016. The 20th is on a Thursday and helps commemorate the Big Thursday football game that – over 50 years ago – was a special attraction throughout South Carolina and the nation. No doubt, Big Thursday contributed tremendously to the great rivalry between the two schools we enjoy even to this day.
Our event begins with a 5:30 p.m. social and by 6:30, dinner is served. During dinner, footage of previous Clemson - Carolina football games from years past is shown on video screens. And to reminisce (not only about Big Thursday but to also reminisce on exciting rivalry games since), at least two (2) former football players from each school help the audience “relive” what it was like to play in this great rivalry. This year, former players from the early ‘80s are invited to tell their exciting stories and participation experiences in Clemson-Carolina games.
Pictured above is club members Jim Harpe and Gyles Hall, Columbia College Sertoma Club & audiologist students, and Cocky at Lexington Kid's Day. Our club set up a "Safe Ears" display at the event where we gave out literature about noise induced hearing issues and passed out free ear plugs.
Pictured above is the Lexington Sertoma Club's new Hearing Display at the Lexington County Library located on Hwy 1. The display was designed and installed by club member Peter Balsamo. It contains numerous free pamphlets about noise induced hearing loss and ways it can be prevented.
The Lexington Sertoma Club is a local civic organization in Lexington South Carolina chartered in January 1977. Our primary focus is communication - helping people with speech and hearing disabilities. We also strive to "give back" to our community by contributing to other local projects and activities.
Town of Lexington Mayor Randy Halfacre is presented a check in the amount of $8,110 by club representatives Matt Quinton,Tommy Harman, and Jody Hunter. The funds will be used to construct a special walkway at Gibson Pond Park. This represents the net proceeds from our first Big Thursday Tailgate Party which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the last Big Thursday game held in Columbia in October, 1959. To date we have raised and donated to the Town of Lexington over $50,000 to enhance historic Gibson Pond Park from our annual Big Thursday Tailgate events held in October of each year..
Some of the main sponsorship recipients from our club include the Sertoma Foundation, Camp Sertoma of South Carolina, Sertoma National Heritage Program, Lexington Dixie Youth Baseball, Lexington County Aging "Christmas in April" Program, Nancy K. Perry Children's Shelter, Meals on Wheels, and the Sertoma Service to Mankind Award.
Also, in 2007 our club began a significant sponsorship effort known as the "Make A Difference Foundation". This sponsorship is actually a partnership between Lexington Sertoma Club and Lexington School District One. Our club will consider requests and provide funding for schools to purchase classroom speech and hearing equipment, provide $1000 scholarship(s) for teacher(s) furthering his/her education in speech/hearing, and provide funding to parents or guardians (who have limited financial resources) for the purchase of hearing aids/speech development needs for speech/hearing impaired children.