Newsoms Ruritans celebrate 65 years

Published 9:03 am Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gail Duncan, left, and Debbie Parrish look over a display at the Newsoms Ruritan Club’s 65th anniversary Sunday afternoon. -- Nicholas Langhorne | Tidewater News

NEWSOMS—Since 1945, the Newsoms Ruritan Club’s members have worked to make the community a better place.

“To say that the Newsoms Ruritans have lasted 65 years is because we’ve had members who really care deeply about our community and the welfare of its citizens,” said John Skeeters, the club’s current president.

On Sunday afternoon, the club’s 24 members celebrated its 65th anniversary, complete with visits from national Ruritan officials and even a cornhole tournament.

Skeeters said the club recently held a blood drive, helped a family that lost its home in a fire and helped youth through 4-H and scholarship programs.

“We’re here to fulfill the Ruritans motto, which is fellowship, goodwill and community service,” he said.

Current club member Betty Darden said women weren’t allowed to join until 2000.

“My father was a charter member, and he didn’t have any boys, and I wanted to join because of him,” she said.

Growing up, Darden could see the work her father, Sonny Worrell, and the other members did the community.

“The Ruritans were the best organization you could have, and he was a very active member,” she said.

Ruritan National Vice President Jayson Duncan thanked the club’s “founding fathers.”

“They must’ve been an investment genius 65 years ago because if you think of all the money over 65 years and all the efforts this club has put into this community, that’s a lot of investment,” Duncan said. “That’s better than any stimulus package.”

Chuck Myers, governor of the Ruritans’ Holland District, noted the significant changes in technology, transportation and other areas over the past 65 years.

“One thing hasn’t changed in 65 years, and that’s the efforts of the Newsoms Ruritan Club putting back into their community,” Myers said.