CLOVER — In 1961, Harry Hogue became a charter member of the Clover Jaycees when he signed up to join with 35 other residents. They were the largest chapter to be formed in the state at the time. Hogue, who was just 21 at the time, is glad that he did. He believes the leadership ability and other skills he gained through his participation in the Clover Jaycees was instrumental in his career success.
Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series of profiles on Clover-area residents and their connection to the community to mark the 125th anniversary of the town of Clover.
In 1961, Harry Hogue became a charter member of the Clover Jaycees when he signed up to join with 35 other residents. They were the largest chapter to be formed in the state at the time.
Hogue, who was just 21 at the time, is glad that he did. He believes the leadership ability and other skills he gained through his participation in the Clover Jaycees was instrumental in his career success.
“You can’t tell people unless they experience what Jaycees does for you,” said Hogue, now 72. He retired as York County tax assessor in 1998, after 30 years of working for the county.
Hogue said Jaycees did a lot for him and for others. “It helps you to be a public speaker. It helps you to be involved in the community in individual projects. It helps you to be able to meet people and correspond with them.”
Hogue, who grew up in Clover and married his wife, Ann Clark, from York, has lived in the Clover area all his life. He joined the Jaycees because a Rock Hill chapter was trying to get more Jaycees groups organized.
He said their first project was the dedication of a new U.S. Post Office, which was located in the present Clover Community Center building on Bethel Street. Jaycees hosted a ceremony for the opening, he said.
The Jaycees also pitched in to help Toys for Toys at Christmas, he said. They sponsored bloodmobiles and they managed and maintained the former Clover public swimming pool, he said.
“We did the flag days,” he said. “The business people in Clover would purchase a flag service and we’d put out a flag on the holidays. We raised funds for Camp Hope, which was a camp for young people with disabilities.”
And on Sundays, he said, they hosted what they called Honey Day.
“We sold honey on Main Street, as you come into Clover at Bethel and Main,” he said. “People were very receptive to it. They would put the honey and those funds were turned over to Camp Hope.”
Later, Hogue said, the item sold was changed to candy.
They also hosted an annual banquet to identity and honor an outstanding young man in the Clover community, he said. At that time, the wives of Jaycees members had their own group, called Jaycee-ettes. The Jaycees later opened membership to women.
“It was good for all of us, and I think we were good for the community, and I’m sure it’s the same thing now for the Jaycees,” Hogue said. “Some of my best friends are from those days in Jaycees.”
Hogue believes the skills he learned enabled him to succeed in his career. “It develops leadership and it will help you in any job you have,” he said. “It also will help you understand people and get along with people.
“I attribute it as the major factor in my life, back then, to get me to be able to handle the position with the county that I had,” Hogue said.
He said the Jaycees he worked with became bankers, politicians, professionals. Two former Clover Jaycees went on to become state presidents of the group — Wes Spurrier, a Clover Town Council member, and Dick Jackson, owner of Jackson’s Kitchen in Clover, he said.
“It’s amazing to see a young man come in and he may not be outspoken and good in crowds, and he develops to where he can go out and be great in his business or his employment,” he said. “It’s all because of his training in Jaycees.”
Hogue, who said he still enjoys the small-town life in Clover, still sees friends from his Jaycees days regularly. “We were about the same age and we all got involved in Jaycees,” he said. “We still have those fond memories.”