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Pleasant Valley Ruritan celebrates 50 years of community servic

October 20, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

Ralph Proctor of Brownsville, 83, remembers why he went to the meeting chartering the Brownsville-Gapland Ruritan Club on Nov. 27, 1954.

"I liked the idea of fellowship and helping one another," Proctor said.

Since then, the club has changed its name to Pleasant Valley Ruritan Club, but it's been unwavering in its mission to serve the community. Proctor still serves as one of 25 active members.

At 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, the club met with other area Ruritan Club leaders as well as national Ruritan Club dignitaries for its 50th anniversary celebration. About 60 people gathered at Brownsville Church of the Brethren, including representatives from Ruritan clubs in Downsville, Fort Frederick, Maugansville, Leitersburg and Rohrersville.

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John McGolerick of Knoxville, Md., 81, who was present at the March 2, 1961, meeting to change the club charter name from Brownsville-Gapland to Pleasant Valley Ruritan Club, highlighted some of the club's considerable successes over the years.

McGolerick said the Pleasant Valley Ruritan Club worked with other groups and lent a strong voice toward influencing the State of Maryland to build an overpass at Md. 67 and U.S. 340. The club also lobbied to prevent a large electric company from running power lines through Pleasant Valley.

McGolerick also said the club supported the establishment of Pleasant Valley Elementary School and donated three acres of land to the Washington County Commissioners for the development of what is now Pleasant Valley Park.

Terry Smallwood, 37, of Pleasant Valley, president of the Pleasant Valley Ruritan Club, said the group's ongoing fund-raising efforts including pancake breakfasts and barbeque sales help cover costs of community programs. Club-sponsored activities and projects include fishing rodeos, visits from Santa Claus to Himes' Store on Christmas Eve, scholarships for Boonsboro High School seniors, and provision of ribbons for Pleasant Valley Elementary School students on field day.

"We try to give back as much as we can," Smallwood said.

Club member Dottie Tritapoe, 75, of Pleasant Valley, said one of her favorite Ruritan projects is an essay contest for 4th and 5th graders at Pleasant Valley Elementary School. Tritapoe said the club provides four U.S. Savings Bonds ranging in value from $50 to $100 for contest winners.

National Ruritan President John Hancock, from Richmond, Va., was on hand for the celebration and spoke highly of the Pleasant Valley club.

"The one thing that stands out in 50 years of this club is the work being done in the community," Hancock said. "I love what you stand for and I love what you do."

Hancock referred to the Pleasant Valley community as "a treasure" and "a diamond" and urged the local club to continue to cherish and protect it.

"It's like coming into a breath of fresh air. Folks would die for what you've got here," Hancock said.

Frank Clevenger of Greencastle, Pa., governor of Ruritan Potomac District, also commended the group for its community service.

"In 50 years, you didn't stop. Remember the 50 years ahead," Clevenger said.

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