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National Ruritan official pays visit

ARARAT, Va. — The Ararat Ruritan Club celebrated its 70th anniversary over the weekend with a special guest in attendance to help mark that occasion.

Ruritan National President Glen Broadwater was among those gathering Saturday afternoon for the event held at the club building on Ararat Highway.

The Ararat Ruritan Club was chartered on Jan. 9, 1953, being sponsored by another club at the opposite end of Patrick County in the Critz community.

That early group in Ararat had 29 members, mostly farmers, with an honorary roll call of those individuals conducted as part of Saturday’s festivities to mark 70 years of serving the community.

Those initial members’ mission of making it a better place to work and live continues today through an active membership that has made its mark in a number of ways.

“It’s the most wonderful thing,” Broadwater said while mingling with those attending the event.

Not only is the 70-year milestone important to commemorate, said the 2022 Ruritan national president — who will step down from that post later this month. It’s also a time to reflect on what the club has done for the corner of the world which it serves.

And that can be assessed by posing a key question, added Broadwater, who lives in Nickelsville in Scott County in the far-western corner of Virginia:

“What would the community be like without you?”

The Ararat Ruritan Club is engaged in a variety of service projects, which 2023 President Pam Smith says is a way of carrying out the goals envisioned by the original members and maintaining their legacy.

It has mounted fundraisers to support community causes including the Patrick County Food Bank, a county backpack program and a Home Alone effort that serves residents in the Willis Gap and Ararat areas.

One noteworthy project emerged at the height of the coronavirus pandemic which met a need created when local students were kept at home and could not attend schools where they normally received free breakfasts and lunches.

The Ruritans mobilized to provide bags of food for the youths.

And recently when a cold snap brought record temperatures to the area, the club opened the doors to its building to provide safe, warm shelter for folks lacking that.

Saturday’s festivities included the serving of cake and ice cream to commemorate the anniversary and a large array of memorabilia on display to highlight the club’s storied history.

Broadwater pointed out that the Ararat club is one of more than 900 in the national Ruritan organization that has nearly 25,000 members throughout the United States altogether.



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