South Branch Ruritan Club celebrated its 61st anniversary with community members Sunday at the Upper Tract Fire House.
Two of the last remaining charter members, Stanley Kile and Gerald Sites, were in attendance. Kile and Sites reminisced about club activities from the early years while Sites provided a detailed history of club members and activities over the last 61 years. Sites also presented Faye Kile, club president, with a $250 donation.
The South Branch Ruritan Club was organized on June 1, 1962. Twenty-seven men from all walks of life…farmers, truck drivers, merchants, bus drivers, timber cutters and a poultry dealer…came together to organize a club which would provide service to the community. The club was sponsored by the Stonewall Club from Virginia. Later, the local club started the Landes Ruritan Club in Petersburg.
The club was responsible for starting the Upper Tract Fire Department. Jim Harold donated the land for building the fire house, which was built in 1965. Members of the Ruritan club joined the fire department. Sites recalled paying $3,500 for the first fire truck. Lawn parties, sponsored by the Ruritans and firemen, were held at the Schmucker Community Center to raise money to pay for the firehouse.
The Ruritans are very active and always looking for ways to serve residents in the Upper Tract area. They reach out to senior citizens with bingo and Christmas parties and honor veterans with a dinner on the first Monday in August. They also provide gas money for cancer patients and others going to doctor appointments and have assisted families that have lost their homes. Each year, a scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior at Pendleton County High School and gives funds to the county 4-H program.
Current officers serving the club are Faye Kile, president, Roger Dahmer, vice president, Pam Dahmer, secretary, Roger Crites, treasurer, and Macie Dahmer, Larry Dove and Barbara Seymour, directors.
The club meets the first Monday of each month at the firehouse in Upper Tract.