Ahhhh May! Spring is in the air! Can you smell it? Can you see it? Can you feel it?
This is the time of the year when all the flowers are blooming, the grass is especially green and trash shows its ugliness along the local highways. Yes, the trash seems to grow through the winter and flourish in the spring.
It’s the time of the year that groups are courageously walking along the side of the road picking up the trash that people casually throw from their cars.
One of the local groups in the county that endeavors to keep the highways looking beautiful are the Ruritans, and May is a special month for Ruritan. Ruritan National was founded in Holland Virginia on May 21, 1928, and each year all Ruritan Clubs celebrate May as Ruritan Awareness month.
Ruritans are a special group of people. They are all volunteers doing awesome community service projects and are striving to make their communities special places to live and work.
In Greenbrier County, there are eight Ruritan Clubs: Clintonville, Frankford, Maxwelton, Muddy Creek Mountain, Renick, Richlands, Smoot and Williamsburg, with a total of 184 members. You know most of the local Ruritans. You attend church together, work together, and we are your neighbors.
Each local Ruritan Club serves its own community based on the needs of the community in which the Ruritan Club members live. Some clubs provide scholarships, sponsor 4-H clubs and FFA clubs, and maintains local parks. Other clubs may clean up cemeteries, host blood drives, provide transportation for veterans, build accessible ramps for the elderly and disabled, give Rudy bears to police and fire departments and sing Christmas carols at local nursing homes.
I know that you’ve seen the fundraisers — the spaghetti dinners, ice cream at the State Fair of West Virginia, bean and ramp dinners, raffle tickets, auctions — all to raise money to give back to local communities. Many community-based organizations such as the Family Refuge Center, CASA, food pantries, fire departments, Boy and Girl Scouts and Penny Pitch benefit from Ruritan Clubs.
As local clubs celebrate May as Ruritan Awareness Month, I hope that if you are not already a member of Ruritan, that you would consider visiting a club in your area and becoming a member when asked. All community service organizations are losing members, and Ruritan Clubs are no exception. As people become busier, they have less time to give back to their community. Home, school, work, family and church activities take up the majority of people’s time and say they can’t commit to adding one more thing to their schedule. If everyone continues to feel that way, eventually there will be no one left to pick up the trash.
Lower WV District Secretary, Zone 7
Secretary, Maxwelton Ruritan Club
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