For this week’s Community Conversations, our host ST Billingsley chatted with Ken Hinkle from the Nokesville and Bristow Ruritans.
Q: What do the Ruritans do?
A: Well the Ruritans is [about] community service – local community service club. It works with everything around our communities to make our communities a better place to live and work. And they’ve been…in Virginia since 1928. Our club was chartered in December 13, 1941 six days after Pearl Harbor. So this year we are celebrating our 75th year of community service, fellowship, and good will.
Q: So what type of organizations do you help?
A: Well we help a lot of youth clubs. We work with Boy Scouts and 4-H Clubs, Little League. We also sponsor youth clubs in schools. And we also help food pantries. Our job is to work even with other community service clubs and that’s part of our bylaws.
Q: And so, tell me the story about the bear.
A: Rudy Bear is the Ruritans mascot. It’s his–I think 26th year. This is the way Rudy Bear’s been dressed for 25 years. This year the president’s wife is wanting us to honor and talk [about] Alzheimer’s. So when we order our next hundred and fifty bears, they will have a purple shirt. So that we can also put these in those kind of places. And a lot of our youth clubs that we sponsor, also give these out as well as we do to fire departments and police stations —police cars- so they will have [them]…when they run into a traumatic situation.
Q: And so the police and fire departments, they’ll give them to who?
Q: Children so during something going on there able to do that?
A: Help settle them down.
Q: And so the youth clubs that you sponsor- how do you work with the youth clubs? And how do you guide them on…what are they doing in the schools?
A: We will have a school staff member and usually a lot of parent members, that are part of their organization that runs these clubs and their sole purpose, again, is community service. So they do things like blankets that they send to youth cancer victims. They’ll clip coupons for our military overseas and send them, and they’ll do pictures for Christmas trees of adoptable cats and dogs that we can go out to this different stores and put them on their Christmas trees. Just work on helping people, that’s what we’re about.
Q: And over the years, the Ruritans club, as far as the members has changed a little bit over the years. Tell me a little bit how where, since it was more of a rural type of organization, how that has changed to basically 75 years?
A: Well I can tell you the way they started in 1928, in Holland, Virginia. Farmer’s cows got out and went into small town in Holland and ate the flowers. So the citizens of Holland, and the farmers in the local area, decided they need to get together to figure out what to do about this, and actually that’s way Ruritans started. With that first week. And rura, which is Latin for small town, that is for rural, and tan, t-a-n, is for the small town, and that’s how you get the name Rur-i-tan.
So our club which was founded in 1941 has been active in Nokesville area and Prince William County ever since. This being our 75th year we will actually do our celebrating on October 30th, which is the day after our Fall Festival Brunswick Stew.
Q: So talking about the fall festival coming up, that’s going to be in October. Brunswick Stew Fall Festival. Tell me about everything that goes on with that.
A: Well now with it being a fall festival it used to be Brunswick Stew. We will cook 350 gallons of Brunswick Stew over open fires in kettles ranging from 30 gallons to 90 gallons. And now we will have vendors also. Our youth clubs will be their selling baked goods, and apple ciders, and apples, and pumpkins. And we do that at Windy Knoll Farm on Kettle Road in Nokesville and all your schools will know where that is because they really sponsor classes -elementary classes- come out and tour their facilities as part of their education process.
Everybody says, “350 gallons is what?” Well last year it was 1400 quarts. Yes, and we do sell out, and we also have pre-orders. If you can catch us on Facebook or on our website, which is Nokesville-Bristow Ruritans.
Check back for the next episode of Community Conversations.
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