Downtown Blacksburg Inc. is proud to present our non-profit Member of the Month for December 2016 – Mount Tabor Ruritan Club!
The Mount Tabor Ruritan club is the local branch of the national Ruritan organization and embodies the mission of fellowship, goodwill and community service. As a service organization the emphasis is on serving the local community. Service comes in several forms. During the summer months, the club serves the community with fabulous fish fries. In the summer months, an average 480 people come and enjoy fresh fried fish, sides, dessert, fellowship and live music the second Saturday of each month May through September. Many of these individuals are repeat visitors, sometimes reaching back generations. Fish fries are a major fundraiser for the club. The other fundraiser is the sale of apple butter which club members make and sell in the fall. This year the club used 90 bushels of apples, purchased locally, to make 400 gallons of apple butter! Then members sit in front of Kroger or at the NRV Mall and sell it! The club also partners with Heavener’s hardware so people can easily find it to purchase.
Fundraising is important because a core activity of the club is supporting organizations and projects that serve our community. More than 60 different community projects are supported, all local causes. Some projects support broad community programs such as the local food pantry and the Blacksburg Rescue Squad. Other projects serve a more specific cause such as To Our House, a program that helps local churches provide shelter for homeless men in the winter and Point West that provides a creative outlet for children and adolescents. Scholarships are also given to local high school graduates to help with college expenses. Mount Tabor Ruritan Club also recognizes a teacher of the year who has distinguished themselves by providing superb service to community children. The overall budget of $20,000 is directly invested in our community.
Money isn’t the only measure of Mt. Tabor Ruritan activities. Collectively the club provides over 5,000 hours of service and constantly seeks to support the efforts of our ever changing community. Members may visit people who are hospitalized, put on the Fourth of July parade, or give time to activities like Micah’s backpack. Members range in age from a founding member — Rador Vaden age 80 — to John Wesley Jarels, 14, a student at Blacksburg Middle School. John Wesley was awarded the New River District Rudy Youth of the Year award at the last District Convention in October,
Mt. Tabor Ruritan club meets once a month for a home cooked dinner, a chance to visit with members, and a brief business meeting where they hear from some of the groups they assist and plan for new activities. This year the club decorated their Christmas tree in Kent Square to recognize the work of our first responders. “We hope everyone will come visit our tree…and vote for us…”says Jeananne Dixon, who led the activity this year. Decorations include Rudy Bears, the stuffed bears that the club provides to fire, police and rescue personnel to use when dealing with children who are caught up in stressful situations.
On Friday, July 17th, 2015, around 90 members and guests celebrated 50 years of Ruritan service in Mount Tabor. The invocation was given by Chaplain and charter member, Rador Vaden, who has 50 years of perfect attendance! This was followed by the presentation of proclamations by the Virginia House of Delegates (by Del. Joseph Yost), the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors (by Supv. Annette Perkins), and the Blacksburg Town Council (by Mayor Ron Rordam). Ruritan National was represented by President-Elect Calvin Shelton and National Director Gary Solomon. In celebration of the event, a donation of 50 Rudy Ruritan Bears was made by club Vice-President Cindy Turner to local first responders. These are given to help calm children in traumatic situations. They were received by Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson.
“We are so pleased to be recognized by Downtown Blacksburg Inc. Mt. Tabor Ruritan has been serving the community for over 50 years and we find ways for members to provide for those in need while having fun and offering fish fries and apple butter for the enjoyment of all” says Logan Brooke, president of Mt. Tabor Ruritan club, 2011 to 2016. (click here for more information www.facebook.com/MtTaborRuritan/