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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Dixie Butler and Temple Heights are synonymous with the Columbus Pilgrimage. It’s a passion that she’s been apart of for over 40 years. Not only does she open up her home for visitors to view she gives countless hours of her time for her community. Thursday she was honored by the Columbus Exchange Club.

It’s the National Exchange Clubs longest running project at 93 years strong and it recognizes volunteers who give endless hours of their time to making their communities shine. The Book of Golden Deeds Award exemplifies what The National Exchange Club stands for. It’s an honor that Dixie Butler holds dearly.

“I’m very humbled and honored and thrilled. I don’t feel I do a lot but I enjoy doing things that I think make this community better.”

Mrs. Butler and her late husband Carl Butler set roots in Columbus in 1967. Both educators in the community they naturally took to the history and charm Columbus had to offer. After purchasing Temple Heights it was certain from the get go that their home would now be apart of the Pilgrimage tours. It’s a tradition that long time friend and employee Lois Lett says has been going strong for 44 years.

Long time friend Lois Swindle says, “We usually start in January getting ready for March and April. And we’re usually working up to the day.”

Since retiring as principal from Franklin Academy in 2004 Mrs. Butler keeps busy. With Temple Heights on tour for visitors three days a week maintaining the home and its grounds is a full time job, not to mention the numerous civic groups and Boards that Mrs. Butler has been apart of over the years. Always willing to help others and her community is exactly why the award is so fitting.

Butler says, “As long as I’m living there I’m going to be on the Pilgrimage.”

With family and friends in attendance this award is extra special. Not only because of what the award stand for but that it comes from a community Mrs. Butler loves so much.

Temple Heights is open for tours year round Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of each week. It will wrap up its Candle Light Tour this Saturday.

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