Ruritan group throwing a party

November 09, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

BIG POOL - An organization whose chief reason for being is "to raise money to give it all away" is celebrating its 25th year of success at that very endeavor.

And what better way for the Fort Frederick Area Ruritan Club to observe a quarter of a century doing just that than to hold a community party and invite everyone to come - for free.

The party is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 13, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Big Pool Community Building, just off Exit 12 of Interstate 70.


Soup, sandwiches and pies will be available. Entertainment will be provided by The Classics, country and '50s music; and Fred Werckle, a singer of old-time country music.

"There will be eating, listening and visiting," said J. Albert Brechbill, current president and one of 10 active charter members of the club.

The club includes about 20 active members from Clear Spring, Big Pool and Williamsport. Meetings are on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

"We usually do better with attendance in the winter than in the summer when many are fishing or hunting," Brechbill said.

Founded by Lee Finfrock and John Resh in 1979, the club is based on agriculture but not limited to those engaged in farming. The original club was about 36 members strong.

Brechbill was encouraged to join by his father-in-law, who had a cattle farm and hay crops. "I was a trucker then, but now I'm retired," he said.

Don Kriner, another charter member, still farms, raising cows and corn.

The major moneymaking efforts each year include one big chicken barbecue held at the community building and monthly pork sales, Brechbill said.

The most recent chicken barbecue netted $1,000 from more than 300 dinners sold. "That is very labor-intensive, hours cleaning the chickens and then cooking them and the side dishes," Kriner said.

Each month about four hogs are butchered locally for phone-in orders and the meat is wrapped to be picked up by the customers at the Clear Spring American Legion. Usually between $500 and $700 is cleared each month.

"We made rules in the beginning that we would support people living in this area," Kriner said. Some of the money raised goes to scholarships for students in the Clear Spring and Big Pool areas.

"We provide fruit baskets to 42 widows and widowers, and another 13 get food baskets," Brechbill said. In addition, the club subsidizes the fuel bills of eight people and supports a Girl Scout troop.

Once the club replaced a roof for someone and another time members made three house payments for a person who had fallen on hard times, Kriner said.

The needs come to them by word of mouth.

"In 2001, we gave $2,000 to Children in Need," Brechbill said. "That was a very special gift."

Dues are $44 a year. In addition to the club members, the auxiliary is active, doing a lot of cooking throughout the year.

"We would be lost without our women," Brechbill said, noting that they serve a dinner at the monthly meetings.

The biggest problem by far is the difficulty attracting new members to the club, Brechbill said. "It's so hard to find young people. I have three grandsons and none of them is interested."

Anyone interested in the club may contact Brechbill by calling 301-842-2696.

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