Ruritans ‘R’ Us

Published 11:11 am Saturday, May 21, 2016

Don’t let the parade pass you by, especially on Saturday. Assuming the weather cooperates — it better! — that’s when neighboring Holland will host its annual Founders’ Day celebration. This isn’t just a big deal for that village. It’s a notable occasion wherever there are Ruritans, and believe you me they’re everywhere. They have been since the first club was chartered on May 21, 1928, in Holland.

What makes Ruritan special is that it’s made up of people like yourselves — individuals who are genuinely concerned about uplifting and maintaining their respective communities.

If work is love made plain, then it’s safe to say that no one cares for their town, village or city more than Ruritans. Month after month, year after year and decade after decade, they demonstrate it through meetings, learning about club ideals and, most notably through projects such as fundraising dinners.

Remember just the other day when the Hunterdale Ruritans cooked up that savory western beef barbecue? All 2,800 pounds of it? Yum! That same night, Isle of Wight Ruritans up in Smithfield hosted their own shindig. Then there was the Windsor Ruritans’ 40th annual pig pickin’ just last week. Truly, nothing brings people together better than food and fellowship.

The profits are returned back in the form of scholarships, the Scouting programs, volunteer firefighters and rescue squads, softball and baseball teams … wherever there’s a genuine need.

Speaking of needs, my thanks goes to all of you who allowed me to take your pictures the other day at the fairgrounds. As you’ve already seen, a couple of photos went into Friday’s edition, and there are more in today’s paper. Those not used will be dedicated to the summer issue of Western Tidewater Living, which is scheduled to publish in late June.

Strolling around, most everyone welcomed my request to take their pictures. Those who did not respectfully declined, and that was honored. Happily, many of you were actually thrilled — thrilled! — to be photographed. I love you, ladies!

Whenever you allow yourself to be interviewed and pictured, such as for a feature for the magazine or newspaper, then you help not merely us, but more importantly yourselves. You’re then documented as having made a contribution, and not just through money.

Days, weeks, months, years and even decades later, other people looking into the past will see there were people who didn’t just exist, but they lived in the place they called home.

STEPHEN H. COWLES is a staff writer at The Tidewater News. He was at one time an honorary member of the Bethlehem Ruritan Club. Contact him at 562-3187 or