Frickert loves to volunteer

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, April 10, 2018

FREDONIA — J.J. Frickert isn’t a Fredonia native, but she loves doing volunteer work in her adopted hometown.

“I volunteer a lot,” she said. “Whatever is needed I try to do whatever I can.”

She and husband Chris are always taking on lots of chores involved in major community events such as the annual Fredonia Barbecue and Heritage Day. People who volunteer their time as much as they do are indispensable in a small community. Chris is on the town council and covers county commission meetings for the community newspaper. Their extensive involvement in the local community makes them great neighbors to anyone who calls Fredonia home.

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It takes a lot of people pulling together and taking care of lots of details to make the Fredonia Barbecue the successful event it has been for 68 years now. It has taken place on the first Saturday following Easter Sunday since 1950.

“The weather was a deterrent for us this year,” said J.J.. “Even so, the crowd wasn’t bad. The three dining areas inside the Clubhouse were filled for most of the evening. We usually get good turnouts when the weather is good. There have been years when we’d have traffic jams with all the people coming in.”

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to building improvements for the Clubhouse. Some work has been done to firm up the building in preparation for its centennial year. What’s now the Clubhouse was built as a school in 1919.

“We are trying to get it recognized by the Alabama 200 Commission,” she said. “We have a lot of documentation we have to do, but we really do want the centennial to be officially recognized.”

With the barbecue in the books, the next major event is Heritage Day. It’s on the first Saturday in November and with good weather, always draws huge crowds.

“It takes a lot of work, but I’m looking forward to it,” said J.J.

Story telling is something that always takes place on Heritage Day.

“It brings people together who have a lot in common,” J.J. said. “When they sit down inside the Clubhouse they can share lots of old stories. This year we are going to try to record them, We will be trying to document these stories.”

J.J. is originally from upstate New York.

“My dad was a minister with five kids, and we moved around a lot,” she said. “He went into teaching in 1966, and we moved to LaGrange,”

J.J.’s dad, Dr. David Naglee, was a well-known and much respected professor of religion and philosophy at LaGrange College.

Chris is originally from the Spartanburg, S.C. area. His dad was an engineer for Deering Milliken and was transferred to one of the company’s plants in the LaGrange area. That’s how the couple met.

“It’s a long story how we got to Fredonia,” J.J. said. “We moved several times before we found a home that was just right for us. We live in the old Cumbee home just behind the Cumbee Store building, and we love it. I don’t know how old it is, but it has wood in it that looks very much like the wood in the Clubhouse. It’s a miracle we found it, and we’ve been very happy there.”