The 72nd annual Greensville Ruritan Club awards banquet on Dec. 11 was a night of good food and laughter and awards.
It was not only a night to celebrate the club’s inception more than seven decades ago but also to recognize its accomplishments and to celebrate the club’s youth.
Most civic clubs are struggling for members as their members get older but the Greensville Ruritan Club has embraced the local youth and invited them into its club with great success.
Younger members have brought their friends into the club, helped with the many activities and even started the REACH Club for youth, which is extremely active in the community.
For example, Ashlyn Sampson, a college student and daughter of Jim and Marsha Sampson, was voted by the National Ruritan Club to be the Rudy Bear Teen of the Year. She received a plaque and was also a $600 scholarship recipient.
Rudy Bear is the mascot for Ruritan Clubs all across America. The Rudy Bear is usually donated, by clubs, to local law enforcement agencies, fire departments and other services. Like Ruritans, Rudy Bear likes to help people. Rudy has visited hospitals and made sick people smile.
He has helped doctors and nurses make children feel better. He has traveled on rescue squads and fire trucks and helped people feel not so scared. He has gone to nursing homes to bring smiles to elderly folks.
Her father praised the teen for going to school, working so hard at Greensville Ruritan Club and attending meetings on the district level. “I would say that whether she was my daughter or not. But I’m very proud she is my daughter,” he said.
At the December meeting of the Greensville Ruritan Club she was elected vice president, which means she will be in charge of the meetings when her father cannot attend.
Holland District Lt. Gov. Jim Sampson earlier this month was named the Governor of Holland District Ruritans during the annual convention in the Regional Workforce Development Center at Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin. He was sworn in by Past National President Robert C. “Bobby” Wrenn, also of Emporia.
Matthew Bullock is the new Lt. Governor for Zone 3 and Dustin Sampson is Zone Governor.
It was also a night to remember. Arnold Vincent was honored for 60 years of service and many other members received awards for their service in the organization and to the community.
New officers and directors elected were Jacob Myrick, treasurer; Billy Rineheart, secretary; Dustyn Sampson, director; Matthew Bullock, director; Troy Watson, director; Ashlyn Sampson, vice president; and Jim Sampson, president.
Receiving perfect attendance pins were: Perfect attendance pins were given to seated, Francis Drummond, 52 years; Arnold Vincent, 60; standing from left, Jacob Myrick, 6 years; Nikki Rineheart, 2; Gary Otten, 34; Tristan Myrick, 2; Troy Watson, 10; Jim Sampson, 16; Aeden Myrick, 2; Matthew Bullock, 2; Ashlyn Sampson, 8; Billy Rineheart, 2; Sarah Yeattes, 2; Mark Mitchell, 4; Dustyn Sampson, 11; Mark Yeattes, 2; and Teresa Welsh, 2.
Ed Conner spoke at the annual banquet. He said that many times people say a club can’t do something because of the lack of money but that isn’t so.
Conner told a story about a man who wanted to be a minister but couldn’t find a church. He finally got the chance to preach but the church had never heard him give a sermon. Soon, the church had 700 people attending and had to hold a lottery to see who could get into the Sunday School classes. One day a child was crying because she couldn’t get in the Sunday School class because it was full. He got the child in the class that morning because he didn’t want anyone left out. Several months later the child died and he preached the funeral. Soon, he built a larger church in a much better part of town.
He also told about the man tutoring a man who wanted to preach. Others wanted to learn also. Soon that gathering grew and a college was chartered, said Conner, noting that then the money was raised to build a hospital.
All that was accomplished by a tiny, poor church. If the church members of Grace Baptist Church of Philadelphia had believed what people said there would be no college or hospital today, he pointed out.
Greensville Ruritan Club was sponsored by the Wakefield Ruritan Club and the Greensville Club, in turn, sponsored the Meherrin and Brink Ruritan Clubs.
Ruritan National has nearly 30,000 members throughout the United States, that work to improve more than 1,100 local communities. Since the organization’s beginning in 1928, Ruritan Clubs have served America with Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service. Ruritan is a civic service organization made up of local clubs in urban areas, small towns and rural communities.
The Ruritan Clubs’ purpose is to create a better understanding among people and through volunteer community service, make America’s communities better places in which to live and work.
The slogan of Ruritan is “Fellowship, Goodwill and Community Service.” Club membership represents a cross-section of the community in which the club serves, and is not restrictive with regard to occupation, social position, or any other specific criteria.
Unlike most civic service organizations, Ruritan rarely has national programs. Rather, each club surveys its own community as to the needs of that community and then works to meet some of those needs. Nearly all clubs work locally with organizations serving youth.
[Photo: Greensville Ruritan Club President Jim Sampson, standing, talks to fellow club members Tuesday at the Greensville Ruritan Club building.]