Collett Cross of New Albany has been named president of Pilot International, an international service club organization.
She was honored at a reception Sunday afternoon, July 26, at the Union County Heritage Museum (UCHM).
Raised in Tennessee, Cross moved to New Albany with her late husband Tony during the 1970s and joined the local Pilot Club soon after moving to Mississippi.
Founded 100 years ago in Macon, Georgia, Pilot International now has 19 districts, 350 local clubs and 6,000 members worldwide. Outside the U.S. the largest membership district is in Japan, which has 400 members.
Cross served as an International Director of Pilot Club for two years. Then she served a year each as International secretary, vice-president, and president-elect.
She was installed as president of Pilot International during the organization’s 100th anniversary meeting in Atlanta, July 6-10.
Pilot is founded on two principles: friendship and service.
Its main focus is brain safety, the prevention of brain injuries from whatever cause. This includes providing helmets for bicyclists, horseback riders and skate boarders.
The concern with brain safety includes working to see that elderly people do not suffer falls and brain injuries in their own homes. Cross says she believes Pilot will become more concerned in the future with the support of care givers.
Pilot International supports a membership program called Compass for young professionals ages18-26. It also has a service program for high school age people called the Anchor Club.
Cross earned a PhD from the University of Mississippi and her professional career has been as an educator. She worked for 21 years for the New Albany School District and served as principal of B. F. Ford School.
She then taught at the University of Mississippi.
For many years she has been a volunteer at New Haven School and has previously served as the school’s full-time director.
Remarkably enough, Collet Cross is not the first Union County resident to become president of Pilot International. Betty DuVall King of New Albany, also a long-time educator, served as International president of Pilot 1976-1977.
The reception for Dr. Cross at the Union County Heritage Museum is typical of a role the museum has played increasingly in recent years. Under Director Jill Smith, the UCHM has become not only one of the top small city museums in the United States, but also has a growing function as a venue for philanthropic and cultural meetings.
Anchor Club, brain injury prevention, Compass, New Albany MS, Northeast Mississippi news, Pilot Club, Pilot International, Union County Heritage Museum