Chuckatuck Ruritans celebrate 80 years

Published 11:03 pm Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chuckatuck Ruritans: Ruritan National president Jerome Rodes honored Chuckatuck Ruritans who have provided 50 years or more of service to the community during the club’s 80-year history. From left are William Whitley, Rodes, Leroy Howell, Joseph Bishop and Sam Glasscock. Al Saunders is not pictured.

The Chuckatuck Ruritan Club celebrated its 80th anniversary Monday with a dinner at Cedar Point Country Club.

Members and guests paid homage to the community service performed by the club since its inception in 1930. The club also installed new officers, announced the Ruritan of the Year award and honored five members who have given 50 years or more of service.

“Thank you for installing an attitude of service on those around you,” said Ruritan National president Jerome Rodes, who traveled from West Virginia for the event. “Eighty years — that’s some kind of accomplishment.”

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Ruritan began in the Holland village in 1928, and soon spread throughout Nansemond County, the state and the nation. Chuckatuck was one of the first clubs to be formed.

“There was never any doubt” that the club would make it 80 years, said Joe Barlow, who was president of the club in 1971. “It was the dedication of the guys that started it and the determination to do something for the community.”

The club has, indeed, made numerous contributions to the community. A review of its history reveals it has sponsored Boy Scouts throughout almost its entire history, helped begin several other clubs in the region, gave $10 for a needy child to have surgery in 1936, helped feed underprivileged children in 1941 and gave scholarships throughout the years.

The sponsorship of the Boy Scouts, alone, has made a big impact on the community, Rodes said.

“Can you imagine how many lives you have touched by supporting that organization?” Rodes said.

He also pointed out the Chuckatuck club has produced three Ruritan National presidents and one Virginia governor, Mills E. Godwin Jr.

Ruritan District Governor Chuck Myers also touted the club’s service after reminiscing about the past.

“When this club started, plastic did not exist,” he told attendees. Since 1930, two states have been added to the nation, television and the polio vaccine have been developed and many other changes have taken place.

“One thing that did not change was the community service of the Chuckatuck Ruritan Club,” Myers said.

The Ruritan of the Year award was given to Pierre Rosa, last year’s club secretary. Robert Boyce presented the award.

“He puts a lot of time into his Ruritan work,” Boyce said of Rosa. “He has been instrumental in bringing the Ruritan club into the computer age.”

Five members who have given a total of 273 years of service to the organization also were honored. They are: Al Saunders (62), Joseph Bishop (59), Leroy Howell (51), William Whitley (51) and Sam Glasscock (50).

Glasscock, a former Virginia state delegate from Suffolk and president of the Chuckatuck club in 1963, said after the meeting that “nothing beats 80.”

“It’s just been folks getting together and working together and just enjoying each other, as well as doing something that’s worthwhile,” he said.