Scholarship recipient thankful for Ruritan experience

Published 9:51 am Friday, June 22, 2012

by Lauren Arrington

The word “Ruritan” has been mentioned many times in our community, but I never really knew what the true meaning behind the word was.

It has taken hands-on learning and experiences to uncover the true definition of a Ruritan. I realized through the chicken dinner fundraiser that the purpose of a Ruritan club is to solely give back to the community.

Growing up, I remember my parents and grandparents purchasing different dinners several times a year. Whether it was chicken or pork, they were always packaged in white Styrofoam containers and distributed by our local Ruritans.

As I sat in church, I would also hear Ruritan members announcing the sale of these wonderful plates. Therefore, my perception growing up has always been that the Ruritans do “things,” but what those “things” were, I was not quite sure.

However, Mr. Theodore Hardison, chairman of Zuni Ruritan Club Educational Committee and past president of Ruritan National Educational Foundation, soon ensured me that all the funds coming in are going right back out into the community. Therefore, Ruritan community service is much more than just helping out; it is directly putting all time and effort into projects that will give back and provide for the betterment of our community and the people living in it.

Over summer break, I volunteered at the Western Tidewater Free Clinic. I have also participated in the Mt. Carmel Food Distribution with my school’s BETA club. Through these experiences, I gained the feeling of really helping someone.

On that Friday night in March as I prepared green beans and potatoes, I not only saw a successful fundraiser, but also the abundant fellowship of the smiling people who had contributed to the betterment of the community.

Through this Ruritan event, I was also able to personally feel the effect of community service. I was helping serve others while accompanied by the most loving and welcoming group of individuals. Altogether, I had the feeling of goodness in my heart when I walked out of that building, as I’m sure every other member of the Ruritan club had. I felt like I had captured the real meaning of a Ruritan and the service involved.

Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude for all things that the Ruritans do. The Ruritans sponsored me to attend Girls State 2011, and have now given me the opportunity to meet many new people and experience the Ruritan community.

From these experiences, I have gained a whole new perspective on helping others. I want to get out and provide for the community and the people. Times are hard, and we need to give back and help each other just as our Ruritan community has done for many years.

The Ruritan community has been a very influential organization that has provided for many throughout its time of operation. I applaud the Ruritans for all they do to help the community and provide for a better place to live.

I hope if my dream to go into medicine comes true, that one day I will be able to give back to the wonderful community that we live in just as the Ruritans have taught me to do today. This experience has been influential both personally and to all others involved.

LAUREN ARRINGTON is a 2012 Windsor High School graduate and recipient of the Ruritan National Scholarship from the Zuni Ruritan Club.