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Rotary Governor Dennis Brooks awards Dr. Bob Sittason for being a Hartselle Rotarian for 50 years at a ceremony at Oh!Bryan's on Tuesday.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Rotary Governor Dennis Brooks awards Dr. Bob Sittason for being a Hartselle Rotarian for 50 years at a ceremony at Oh!Bryan's on Tuesday.

Hartselle Rotary honors Sittason, 50-year member

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — If you've lived in Hartselle long enough, you have probably heard the story retired Dr. Bob Sittason tells about his oldest son, Randy.

A graduate of then Morgan County High School, the doctor's son expected a scholarship offer from Paul "Bear" Bryant.

The offer didn't come, in part, because Bryant thought the doctor would pay for his son to attend The University of Alabama.

Randy Sittason went to Vanderbilt University and was an All Southeastern Conference linebacker. Bryant regretted not giving him a scholarship.

Ask the doctor, an avid Alabama fan, about the matter and he says: "Those were four miserable years."

"I've heard that story before," Mayor Dwight Tankersley said.

The story of his son's four years at Vanderbilt is just one friends and fellow Rotarians told about Sittason before honoring him Tuesday.

District Governor Dennis Brooks presented Sittason with the Rotary International Global Vision Award for being a member of the Hartselle Rotary Club 50 years.

In response to the award, Sittason said, "I'm highly shocked with this honor. I appreciated the accolades, and I want you to know some of them are true."

Sittason moved from Decatur to Hartselle in 1957 after graduating from the School of Dentistry at Alabama.

"I was broke, and I didn't think I could afford to equip an office myself," he said about joining Dr. Roland King's office at the Hartselle Dental Clinic.

Dr. King was a Rotarian and persuaded Sittason to join the organization.

"I worked with him three years before I opened my own office," the retired doctor said.

His office address changed, but Sittason, 78, never changed his commitment to the Rotary Club.

"I checked the records, and within two months after Dr. Bob joined, three preachers became members," Hartselle Rotary Treasurer David Burleson said.

The audience laughed. That was OK with the unassuming Sittason. In fact, most of the laughter at Tuesday's ceremony came from stories he told.

Recalling the end of his first term as president, Sittason said there was a "gong ho fellow" from Birmingham who was district governor.

W.P. Maxwell, a Presbyterian minister, preceded Sittason as president.

"I don't know if it's true, but after I left office, he (Maxwell) informed me that the district governor had recommended that Rotary be disbanded (in Hartselle)," Sittason said.

Laughter followed.

Then there is the story about the goat. During another term as president, Sittason said attendance got "real bad."

Someone suggested that the Rotary Club get a goat and require the members who missed to keep it. Former Hartselle High Principal Milton Reed got the goat the first month.

"He had that goat tied up for about three weeks and it got out," Sittason recalled. "He ate up the neighbor's flowers. Attendance went up."

When asked what he thought 50 years ago when he joined, Sittason simply said, "I can't remember that far back."

Two of his sons, David and Bob, were at Tuesday's meeting.

"Daddy is very humble about everything, and I'm sure he's surprised," Dr. David Sittason said.

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