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11 May 2007

Calhoun County Toastmasters Planning Meeting--
Projected Move to JSU McClellan Center

The Calhoun County Toastmasters Club invites you to attend a meeting at the JSU McClellan Center (Bldg. 3181), May 18th at 6:30 p.m. in room 2110.  The purpose of the meeting is to:


  1. Discuss the transition of Calhoun County Toastmasters to the JSU McClellan Center and to decide if the transition should occur before or after the summer.
  1. Arrive at a consensus on meeting times and days.
  1. Elect a slate of officers for the year beginning July 1, 2007.
  1. Pay the new membership fee and complete an application.

Dues are paid the first of April and October and proration is $6.00 per month for members joining in months other than April and October.  A breakdown of the fee and dues are as follows:


  1. New Membership fee (paid once)                 $20.00
  1. Regular Dues paid in April and October to:

a.  Toastmasters International                      $27.00


b. Local Club                                              $9.00

                                                Total           $36.00


You will have an opportunity to ask questions about the various educational programs available to members and to discuss other toastmaster topics of interest.


District officers have been invited to attend to talk about the organizational structure and, hopefully, demonstrate how a typical toastmaster’s meeting is conducted.


Mark your calendar for this date.  Hope to see you at the meeting!


For more information, contact Melanie Delap, Director of Development Services, Jacksonville State University, Office Phone: (256)782-5906; e-mail:


The following is an article submitted by a Calhoun County Toastmaster published in Dare to Soar:  The Quarterly Newsletter for District 14, Spring 2007, Vol. 1, Issue 3.


“I Knew It All Along: I am a Toastmaster!”


By Captain John "J.R." Davis Reynolds, Jr.

Recruiting Operations Officer and

Assistant Professor of Military Science

Jacksonville State University


Shortly after I arrived at my unit assignment, the Army’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at Jacksonville State University (JSU), my boss learned that he had a Toastmaster on staff (me)! To hear him tell it, that was exactly what the Department of Military Science needed. In fact, I met JSU’s greatest need. No, even more than that, I was the answer to the unified prayers of all citizens of the surrounding city of Anniston, Alabama!


Well, maybe I exaggerate how welcome he made me feel (just a touch). However, I was given a great deal of praise. I was also given a most impressive title – Chief of Recruiting Operations – and I was given responsibility for three schools in East Central Alabama.


I should have known. To whom much is given, much is expected!


November 9, 2006 – that was the day I was told that I could show off my “obvious” public speaking skills. On that day, students, faculty, staff, and guests of Oxford High School (a few miles away from JSU) would celebrate Veterans Day.


WHAT??!! Speaking to a roomful of (gulp) strangers?? By then, I had practiced giving speeches to 15 or so Toastmasters at a time. However, those Toastmasters were familiar with my speech projects and me. Now my boss expects me to speak to hundreds of strangers? No way. I mean, my prior assignments had been in command, logistics, and training (NOT speech) for Pete’s sake!


I also found out I was my boss’ second alternate choice – the third person he asked – after he determined that the first two were unavailable to speak (great confidence booster). Learning that, I respectfully responded to my boss …that I would be up for the challenge. *Gulp*


I struggled at first – with topic, organization, everything! I did not want to bore high school students with a dry lecture. On top of that, I learned that my boss, Lieutenant Colonel Henry "Chip" Hester, would be out of town at a conference that day. The fact was that I was speaking for him, not just giving a speech at a program with him. I had six weeks to prepare and deliver the biggest speech of my career, and I did not even know how to begin.


Wait a minute. Yes, I did. I was a Toastmaster. I had been trained. Six weeks is plenty of time. Why, I could do it in three weeks, if necessary. Me and my big thoughts…


Just to be sure I was ready, my boss asked to review my speech three weeks before the Veterans Day celebration. So, I hammered out what my boss considered a VERY ROUGH draft. He thought the structure of my speech was okay, but he knew it would be better once I added that special Toastmaster zing to give it impact!


I thought I already had – now what?!


I needed help. Oscar Jones, seasoned Toastmaster, always gave solid speeches, and eagerly helped other club members grow as speakers. So, I asked for his help.


We worked my “rough draft” into an awesome speech that opened with an engaging series of questions calling for audience response (no bored teens on my watch, sir). Then we built the speech to define the word VETERAN as an acronym.


V:  Volunteer Force

E:  Educating the World on Democracy

T:  Teaching Other Militaries and Governments

E:  Epitomizing ideal Leadership

R:  Responding to the Call for Help

A:  Ambassador of the USA

N:  Need for all citizens to support Service Members of the USA


Days passed. The speech was finally written. For weeks, I practiced and practiced. I was as ready to face a roomful of strangers as I could be.


Well, the “room” was a gymnasium, and attendance that day exceeded 1,100 people!! Yikes!


However, I was not going to back out, AND I WAS NOT GOING TO FAIL. I gave my speech…and it went BETTER THAN I COULD HAVE EVER HOPED!


The audience leaned closer toward me with every opening question. The audience repeated each letter of V.E.T.E.R.A.N. I spoke with loud enthusiasm. More to my surprise, my speech was interrupted with unanticipated applause seven times (that’s right, I counted)!


This was an elating experience for me! I felt like a President at his inauguration.


The speech closed with Lee Greenwood’s song, “God Bless the USA”. As I left the front, I noticed students holding hands and chanting, “Hooah!” Many veterans, and just as many newly enlisted soldiers, were clapping hard, eyes aglow with pride!


Wow! Only six people in that entire gymnasium knew me, yet everyone there cheered what I had done.


What had I done? I accepted a challenge. I started with my audience in mind. I sought and accepted help from a fellow Toastmaster. With his help, I produced draft after draft, until I had a solid speech written. I practiced, and I delivered a presentation that impacted an audience of more than 1,000 strangers. Finally, I validated the confidence my boss placed in me.


Did I know I could do it all along? Of course, I did. I am a Toastmaster.


Captain John "J.R." Davis Reynolds, Jr. is currently an ACG, CL, and the Recruiting Operations Officer and Assistant Professor of Military Science at Jacksonville State University, Gadsden State Community College, and Talladega College. John can be reached at or at JSU at 256-782-8023. He resides in Fort McClellan (Anniston), Alabama, and he is a member of Calhoun County (AL), Herzing College (GA), and Downtown Detroit (MI) Toastmasters Clubs.


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