EL DORADO, Ark. - (Press Release)- 2018 January 12
Cecil Kellum was honored by former Boys Club members of the 1950’s and 1960’s at the
El Dorado Boys and Girls Club on January 12, 2017. He was surprised to find out that a bronze plaque in his honor would be placed at the entrance of the “A, B & C” baseball fields.
The plaque reads as follows:
Cecil Kellum founded the El Dorado Boys Club Athletic Program in 1952 with a pool table and a wrestling mat. He was instrumental in building a new facility and one ball field in 1953 and establishing the little league baseball, basketball, and football programs. Cecil stressed sportsmanship as mentor, fundraiser and umpire. His guiding light turned “Boys to Men” and was inducted into the El Dorado Boys Club Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Union County Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. Cecil’s athletes became business leaders and role models to their communities. In honor of his unwavering support for the youth of El Dorado and Union County, the citizens dedicate “Cecil Kellum Park”.
The committee to implement the improvements consists of Drew Sheppard, Jimmy Moore, Elizabeth Eggleston, Buddy McAdams, Johnny Ralston, Mike Dumas and George Fennell. George has been serving on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club and the Boys Club Alumni Association for 38 years and commented “We appreciate the former members coming back to honor Cecil and to upgrade our facilities.” Johnny Ralston said “Cecil has been an asset to the El Dorado youth for 66 years.” Mike Dumas commented “Cecil has been a great community leader.” Jim Moore thanked Cecil for teaching him how to make a jump shot which lead to his basketball scholarship at Ouachita University. Al Miller, NFL Conditioning Hall
of Famer, recognized Cecil for being his role model on sportsmanship and how to play the game. Elizabeth Eggleston hugged Cecil and said “Cecil you have been a blessing to our community.” Yvonne Henry (Randy)- “Randy was the 1st to receive the “Boy of the Year” award. David Lee, Boys & Girls club Executive Director, informed possible individual or corporate donors to mail checks to El Dorado Boys Club Alumni Association-Kellum, 1203 North West Avenue, El Dorado, AR 71730.”
THE CECIL KELLUM STORY
Cecil Kellum was born in Marietta, Texas on November, 5th 1924. At the age of 5 his family moved to Smackover as his dad wanted to get into the Oil business. His dad later took a job at the Ozarks Ordinance Works, now El Dorado Chemical. It was during the building of the plant that the high school boy named “Squeaky” acquired a job in helping build the factory. At Smackover High School, “Squeaky” was a two sport athlete playing basketball for three years and football for two years. Upon graduation from Smackover High in May of 1942, he entered Ouachita University where he was drafted into military service in the spring of ‘43. He served in the Army Air Corps from 1943-1946. As a Sargent in early 1945 he was stationed in the Marianas on the island of Tinian as a mechanic working on high security B-29’s. After leaving the military he went back to Ouachita University where he was a member of the football team. Cecil graduated from Ouachita University in May of 1949 with a major in Business and a minor in Physical Education. His first job was as a Junior High Coach in Hope, Arkansas.
In September of 1952, Cecil started work as the Physical Director at the El Dorado Boys Club with fellow coworker Alva Waddell, the executive director. The original club facility was located at old Rowland Field and was later moved directly behind where the present Club is today. The equipment Cecil had to work with was one pool table, one ping pong table, one pair of boxing gloves and one wrestling mat. Thanks to Dr. Garland Murphy, Jesse Ralston and other community leaders, the new club was completed and dedicated on June 6, 1953. Cecil sought the help of Garland Gregory to secure sponsors for the basketball, football and baseball programs. Later on, Cecil finalized the plans and developed what is now the “B & C” league fields in the late 1950’s and the early 1960’s. Cecil was easily recognized by his “White Pith Helmet” as he umpired, refereed, coached, disciplined and set the standard for sportsmanship.
The Boys Club goal was to introduce young athletics to competitive sports and emphasized that the coaches, players, umpires and family should conduct themselves in a sportsman like manner. Cecil was the leader and disciplinarian to get that important job done. The boys of the 50’s and 60’s still remember Cecil as helping to guide them in the right direction. When Cecil spoke the boys listened intently and his advice was highly valued. Cecil’s rules were the law and he taught by example. Cecil’s impact was that he helped develop “Boys into Men”.
Cecil was inducted into the El Dorado Boys & Girls Club in 2002 and the Union County Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. Cecil’s athletes became business leaders and role models in their communities.
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