It might be hard to find someone with more True Blue spirit than Paula Tompkins, one of the guiding forces behind the organization that sponsors the “Aging Eagles” and the “Aging Eagles Club.” The club started as just a small group of friends and enthusiastic Georgia Southern University football fans. Later, they decided to support the Southern Pride Marching Band. Now with nearly 150 members, the “Aging Eagles Club” is a tax-deductible non-profit organization with a foundation account set up for the University athletic bands.
When band director Dr. Colin McKenzie took over Southern Pride last year, Tompkins said she began sharing some of her ideas with him. “Through my membership on the Music Advisory Board at the University, I heard that the band was requesting donations of food before each home game, so I volunteered to help. I went to several local restaurants, explained the need and was thrilled to get a ‘yes’ to feeding 250 hot and hungry kids on game day,” Tompkins explained. “As a thank you from the band, Colin let me conduct the band during the fight song at a home game. What a thrill! The band members were wonderful! They were so polite and appreciative of everything.”
Some of the “Aging Eagles Club” members are Georgia Southern graduates, but Tompkins, who majored in oboe at Ohio State University, said most are not. “Our connection with the University goes back to 1980 when our oldest son was a freshman here,” she said. “We feel strongly that the athletic programs at Georgia Southern benefit from having a strong band presence. We respect and admire the hard work and long, hot hours the band members put in and we want to show them that we’re here to support them.”