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Lack of young members leads to disbandment of Carrollton Ruritans
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The Carrollton Ruritan Club has disbanded after 64 years of service to the village and the county.
The club was officially chartered as Club 941 on Jan. 29, 1959, and sponsored by the Augusta Ruritan Club.
“I was asked by Theodore “TL” Guess in 1968 to join the Ruritan Club and I never left,” said longtime member Kenneth Scott. Scott has been in the club for 54 years and has served as secretary since 1974.
“I joined because I wanted to help out organizations with money and the community,” said John Rutledge, who served as president of the Carrollton Ruritan Club from 2001-2008 and most recently as vice president. Rutledge joined the club in 1995.
Rutledge and Scott explained the main reason the club disbanded was everyone was getting too old and there were no younger members coming in. Scott noted of the members left, only three were below age 70.
“The older guys didn’t want to do it anymore and there are no younger members to step up and take over for us,” said Rutledge. “There are approximately 15 members but only about five or six members would attend meetings.”
The Carrollton Ruritan Club had its first official meeting February 9, 1959, at a dinner meeting in the First Methodist Church basement and the Charter #941 was presented by Floyd Lower of Lisbon, OH, district president.
According to the original charter Daniel Mangun and Charles Walters of the Augusta organization explained the objectives and ideals of Ruritan. Howard Showalter, county extension agent, served as acting chairman and G. Wayne Hothem, 4H agent, served as acting secretary during the original organization of the club.
Officers were installed by Fred Puttkamer of Greenford, lieutenant governor of Zone 1. The first elected officers of the club on Feb. 9 include: Harold Windram, president; Don Lebold, vice president; Mac Guess, secretary; and Dale Williamson, treasurer. Board of Directors were Howard Showalter, three years; Ed Long for two years; and Robert Newell, one year.
The original 29 charter members “composed of farmers and business and professional men” were as follows:
Professional: Harold Windram, Mac Guess, Howard Showalter, Don Lebold, Ron Millar, Paul Rinkes, Donald Walters, Henry Sedlacek and Robert Johnson.
Business: Raymond Roof, Keith Lodge, Edward Cavitt, T. L. Guess, Willis Walker, Bill Craig and Richard Hornberger.
Farmer: Dale Williamson, Robert Newell, Ed Long, Paul Bixler, Richard Rutledge, Lester Crabbe, Harvey Lash, Chester Rogers, John Eisenhut, Roy Booth, G. Wayne Hothem, Kenneth Widder and Arthur Rummell.
Membership was acquired by invitation only.
The Carrollton Ruritan Club hosted the Ohio District Ruritan Convention on Nov. 6, 1965 at the high school. Donald Kelch, local veterinarian, was the president.
The final officers as of its closing on Jan. 19, 2023, were: Ralph R. Lucas, president; John Rutledge, vice president; Kenneth H. Scott, secretary; John Davis, treasurer; and Directors Sean Speedy, Leroy VanHorne and Kenneth Bellamy.
During its tenure, the Carrollton Ruritan Club has helped raise money for several area organizations and the schools. The club would bring ice cream and cookies to the Carroll County Golden Age Retreat from February through November and have done so for 40 plus years. The club has supported Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, Loaves and Fishes, had a Hospice, Bell Herron Scholarship, Coats for Kids, dictionaries for Carrollton Elementary School third graders, classroom grants, Camp Muskingum and the Village of Carrollton 5th St. Project, and more.
“Bringing the Carroll County Golden Age Retreat ice cream and cookies, and giving the dictionaries to the Third Graders were some of my favorite things to do,” said Scott. “The hot dog stand and candy was our best and most successful things.”
The Dictionary Project, for example, began in 2004, handing out free dictionaries to Carrollton Elementary third graders. They have given approximately 2,712 dictionaries since beginning. Dellroy Ruritan Club began helping with this since 2018. Dellroy Ruritans plan to keep up this tradition and fully carry the torch to get dictionaries to the kids.
“Handing out the school dictionaries was one of my favorite projects,” said Rutledge. “It was my responsibility to do the labels and I would have my grandchildren help put them on the dictionaries. The candy was a great fundraiser, I think people always liked that the most. People still call and ask me if we are selling candy. Leroy VanHorne and I worked on the candy project for years. I hate for the club to disband because we liked to help other organizations such as Coats for Kids and the dictionaries. The kids would get so excited about the dictionaries, it always gave you a good feeling. I’ve seen several kids outside of the school without coats and the club liked to help with that.”
“The way we supported the community with money is the sad part about disbanding because I know they needed and appreciated it,” said Scott. “We did a lot to donate to Hospice which is going to be missed. We have been pretty good to the whole Carroll County. But there comes a time where you have to make decisions, before it is too late.”
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