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MOUNT VERNON — Local chapters of Beta Sigma Phi held their annual Founders Day dinner Thursday evening at the North Main Café. This year’s dinner was organized by the Upsilon Iota chapter.
Entertainment included a comedy routine by Bruce Butler of Howard and his grandson, Tucker Lukas. A fourth-grader at East Knox Elementary, Lukas easily charmed the crowd with riddles and jokes.
The tone became more somber during the second half of the program, when Butler, a Knox county deputy sheriff, talked about what he sees at work and how he tries to use humor to positively impact everyone he meets.
“You never know what people are going through,” he said.
The group later observed a moment of silence for Nila Leedy, Ann McDonough and Beverly Riggs, members who have passed away in the last year.
Nancy Sapp, Judy McKnight and Vickie Young were acknowledged as Gold Circle Award Recipients for completing 50 years as Beta Sigma Phi sisters.
A total of eight Beta Sigma Phi chapters exist in Knox County, some have been around for more than half a century. Barb Spearman is one of the original members of Alpha Gamma Master, which was formed in 1953 by 10 then-recent graduates of Mount Vernon High School. She said that in its early years, the sorority gave young mothers whose husbands were in the service an excuse to have a night out and enjoy some grown up conversation.
Many Knox County sorority sisters have been part of the organization for decades.
“We have a good time,” said Wanda Payne, a member of the Epsilon Iota chapter for close to 45 years. “We did a lot for charity in our younger years.”
Merry Cassetto of Upsilon Iota said her favorite part of sisterhood is the friendships she’s made.
“The sisters all support each other in the happy times and the sad times,” said Cassetto.
Described as a women’s friendship organization, the first chapter of the Beta Sigma Phi international sorority was formed in 1931 to promote social, cultural and education opportunities for women in the midst of the Great Depression. Today, chapters continue to promote friendship, charity giving and community service.
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