Three of the founding members of the Brooklyn Ruritan Club, which was charted on Jan. 20, 1977, cut a cake in honor of the club’s 45th anniversary last week. Pictured are, from left: Roger Van Ersvelde, Rusty Clayton and Jim Foels. The Brooklyn Ruritan Club is involved in a number of community outreaches throughout the year and has donated more than $1 million back to the community since the club was first chartered 45-years ago.
By J.O. Parker
The Brooklyn Ruritan Club celebrated its 45th anniversary milestone last week.
Rusty Clayton, Jim Foels and Roger Van Ersvelde, three of the original founding club members, celebrated the anniversary on Jan. 20 with a cake and a time of reflection at the Ruritan Club Building on the north edge of town.
The Brooklyn Ruritan Club was charted on Jan. 20, 1977 with 18 members. The club currently has 26 members of which 5 are Rising Seniors.
Each year, the local club choses 4-5 high school seniors to participate in club activities and complete a community service project of their choosing. Each senior then receives a $500 scholarship to further their educational goals.
Through the years, the Brooklyn Ruritan Club has given more than $1 million back to the community through service projects and other activities.
Ruritan is a national organization dedicated to community service with the purpose of making their area a better place to live and work. The slogan of Ruritan is Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service. Club membership represents a cross section of the community which the club serves and is available to all persons interested in their community.
The first Ruritan Club was chartered May 21, 1928, in Holland, Va. Since that first club, Ruritan has grown throughout the United States of America, and in doing so, has become "America's Leading Community Service Organization." The name "Ruritan" is a combination of the Latin words for country "ruri" and the small town "tan," interpreted as pertaining to rural and small town life.
The Brooklyn Ruritan Club is involved in a number of community outreaches throughout the year. This includes a breakfast, which this year will be served on Feb. 27, which will benefit “Big Hearts 4 Tiny Hands,” a local grassroots effort to provide support for families with babies in the NICU. The club also operates concession stands at the Brooklyn Raceway and at the What Cheer Flea Market. In addition, the club offers catering services, hosts a car show on Flag Day weekend, sponsors a camper to Camp Courageous, hosts a Veteran’s Day program, hosts a Valentine’s Day play and meal and is involved in other community projects.
The club’s latest project is an effort to honor Brooklyn’s Harold “Pie” Keller, one of the six Marines who raised the American Flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. The new memorial, which will be located at the Brooklyn Avenue of Flags, will be dedicated on June 11.
“The organization has been good for the community and members personally,” noted Clayton, a founding member and club treasurer. “We also are looking to add to our membership and welcome anyone interested in giving something back to the community. They should reach out to a club member.”