The Northwestern Ruritan Club gathered to celebrates its 50th anniversary June 10 at Northwestern Middle School.

A row of American flags was placed by the Ruritan club along the highway in front of the schools, led by Jamie Bowman and started by John Ertl.

There was an exhibit of various projects that the club had done over the years. Members and guests were given a 20-page booklet of the year-by-year highlights of the club with photos. There was also an extensive list of club projects over the years. The club has given almost $150,000 in scholarships over the years.

President Chuck Beck opened the meeting and welcomed all in attendance, many of whom were wearing matching blue club polo shirts. Following the singing of “America” Jim Johnson gave the invocation.

A special dinner was served by School Dietician Wendy Mole and the middle school cooks.

Beck announced there will be a roadside cleanup sometime in late June (state Route 301 between Pleasant Home and Lattasburg).

Dick Wiley reported there will be West Salem area bike races on July 6 and Aug. 3. Help will be needed directing traffic during those days.

Beck introduced guests that were present. Comments were made by Dave Freshley (past national president), Janet Kinsey (current national director), Frank Kinsey (past national director and district governor), Mike Wright (past district governor), Dee Brown, current lieutenant district governor, and Ted Payn (Zone 9 governor). Also present was Ralph Smucker (assistant Zone 9 governor).

Charter members still active in the club are Bob Criss and Jerry Payn. Charter members not currently active but present were Ed Becker, John Ferguson and Don Prochazka.

Sandy Miller, whose husband Bob was very active in the club and instrumental in starting our Community Musical Comedies and scholarships before his passing, was present with her son Stan, daughter Michelle Dailey and granddaughter Katy Dailey.

Also present were family of club members and former members of the club.

Entertainment for the evening was showing a composite “video” of various scenes from the 18 NW Ruritan Community Musical Comedies which were held from 1986 to 2004. Many comments were heard that folks enjoyed the video, which brought back memories for many of us! Appreciation was given to Carrie Wellert for transferring the videos from VHS tapes for our viewing.

The celebration was closed with the recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance”.

The next club meeting is July 8 at 7 p.m. at The Barn Restaurant in Smithville. Club directors will meet at 6:15 that evening in the restaurant.

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