O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

Giving Back To The Community


November 14, 2019

Recognizing the Ruritan donation to the Sutherland Library for computer countertops are: Standing L to R: Drew Gifford, Jim Johnson, Library Director Nancy HIll, Friends of the Library Secretary Vivian Hersom, Duane Schimmer, Library Trustee President Connie Cody, and Ed Johannsen. Sitting L to R: Shirley Virgil and Mark Cody.

Volunteerism is everywhere. People volunteer for their favorite activities. We volunteer for the causes we believe in. Volunteers are in our government, in our faith, in our schools and in our daily lives. Volunteers are typically unspoken givers who don't ask for anything in return. That is the case with the Sutherland Ruritans.

The volunteer civic organization has worked to improve their community for 52 years. This group of dedicated individuals, now numbering fewer than 20 works together to hold 3 fundraisers each year. The funds generated by their effort are how the Ruritan provides two scholarships each year to graduating seniors. Every Arbor Day, they give each 5th grade student a tree. The kids' races at Sutherland's Labor Day are brought to you fully, by the Ruritans. They have hosted that event for 45 years. Duane Schimmer noted, "We are now in the 3rd generation of kids running in the races." Ruritans are responsible for a 2-mile stretch of Adopt-A-Highway. They have donated to Little League and a host of other causes along the way. (We talked about different adjectives here, with "worthwhile" sounding the most acceptable, but, said Ed Johannsen, "They are all worthwhile.")

Most recently the Ruritans made a generous donation to the Friends of the Library in Sutherland for the cost of purchasing and installing computer countertops. This donation was the finale piece in dramatic new computer work areas at the Sutherland Library. In the spring O'Brien County Foundation gave a grant to purchase 5 new Chromebooks. Friends of the Library purchased 5 new adjustable, wheeled chairs. It's been a successful team community effort. Library Director Nancy Hill played an instrumental role in coordinating the needs to make this makeover a reality.

The fundraisers hosted by the Ruritans that fund these kinds of community improvements are the Ice Cream Social at the City Park each summer, a waffle supper – those thick Belgian waffles with a variety of syrups, and their pancake supper. The pancake dinner is undergoing a change this year, however. The Thursday night supper has been moved to a Sunday Brunch. On Sunday November 17 at the R.L. Johnannsen Center the group will be serving all you can eat pancakes with sausage and a drink from 11:00am – 1:30pm. Take outs are also available.

It is a small group of members. They are always looking to welcome new members, men or women. For the $100 per year dues it includes 9 monthly meals at the local restaurant, currently MugShots (watch this space for an update) followed by a meeting at the Library. They meet each 3rd Thursday.


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