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Windsor Ruritan Club celebrates 90-plus years

The Windsor Ruritan Club, the fourth-oldest Ruritan club in the nation, celebrated its 90th and 91st anniversaries on Nov. 16, with Ruritan National representatives on hand for the special occasion.

“Tonight is about you and celebrating 90 years of service,” Ruritan National President Linward Hedgspeth said to everyone in attendance at the club house on Community Drive.

Special recognition was given during the celebration to Windsor club members of particularly long standing, and Hedgspeth presented presidential medals to those who had been members for 50 years or more.

Ruritan National Treasurer David Thompson presented the Windsor Ruritan Club with the certificates commemorating its 90th and 91st anniversaries.

The club was not able to celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying restrictions.

“You were the fifth chartered club in all of Ruritans, and now you are the fourth-oldest club,” Thompson said. “That just speaks volumes, and thank you for your service. And for those that have been in here for a half a century, that’s incredible. Thank you, thank you so much.”

He read aloud what was printed on the certificates, both being presented “in acknowledgement of devoted and unselfish service which has resulted in making the community a better place in which to live.”

The printed program for the anniversary celebration included a brief history of the club. It started by noting that the club was organized with 25-30 members in March 1930. Six of its members were sent to plan a state/national Ruritan organization.

In July 1930, the commonwealth of Virginia and SCC approved the Ruritan National Certificate of Incorporation. The club history continued by stating that L.T. Hall and S.T. Holland from the Windsor club were identified as directors to manage the incorporation.

In May 1932, the first official charters were printed by the national organization. Windsor Ruritan Club was issued its charter — Charter No. 5.

The club began entertaining wives and sweethearts at its first Ladies Night event held at the Hotel Elliott in Suffolk in May 1934.

The brief history continued by stating that during the early years to the present, the Windsor Ruritan Club helped to charter many new Ruritan clubs. Windsor’s members have served as national, district and zone officers.

The Windsor club welcomed its first female members in 2019.

Lastly, the history noted that the coronavirus pandemic impacted the club’s activities during 2020 and 2021. Due to the pandemic, the commonwealth of Virginia imposed health guidelines that placed restrictions on meetings and activities. With the leaders and members working together, the club was able to overcome the many challenges.

“Thanks to generous donations from several club members and local businesses, the club was able to maintain its charitable focus during these difficult times,” officials stated to conclude the club’s history.

The 2020 Ruritan of the Year honor was presented to Jacob “Little Cecil” Redd, who represents the youth that could help the Windsor club to continue its charitable mission for years to come.

Hedgspeth closed his comments with a charge intended to help preserve and strengthen the foundation of the Ruritan club: “Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith in God.”