The Bonsack/Blue Ridge Ruritan Club has made a donation of Rudy Bears to the Vinton Police Department. Rudy Bear, created in 1988, is the mascot for Ruritan Clubs all across America. Ruritan clubs have been donating stuffed “Rudy Bears” to first responders for over 30 years, to help them comfort traumatized children.
According to club member Lynn Zangari, “We donate Rudy Bears each year to the Vinton Police Department, the Botetourt sheriff, and Carilion Children’s Hospital. These bears can be used to comfort a child during a time of crisis.”
“The Vinton Police Department appreciates the generous donation of Rudy Bears by the Bonsack/Blue Ridge Ruritan Club,” said Deputy Chief Tim Lawless. “We are thankful for their support in our police department and community. Their donation will bring smiles to several children within our community. This will help provide positive interactions with children and law enforcement that can make an enormous difference.”
Rudy Bears are a project of the Ruritan Public Services Committee which works to support law enforcement, fire, and rescue squads, with thousands of bears donated every year to serve children in crisis.
The Bonsack/Blue Ridge Ruritan Club was chartered in 1952 and currently has 38 members.
In addition to the Rudy Bear project, the Ruritans are well-known in the community for sponsoring two $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors at Lord Botetourt and William Byrd High Schools.
In addition to scholarships, the Ruritans support local youth through the Future Farmers of America, Botetourt Technical Education Center, Scouts, summer camps, and more.
They also support veterans, their families, and their operations through the D-Day Memorial, Military Family Support, lunch at the VA Care Center, and an annual veterans’ dinner. The Ruritans display flags on certain holidays and place flags on veterans’ graves on days honoring veterans.
They support families with special needs through the Bonsack Food Bank, their Backpack Ministry, the Ronald McDonald House, RAM House, and the Rescue Mission. They also sponsor blood drives and support the Blue Ridge Library.
The Ruritan club promotes environmental issues, conservation of natural resources, and community beautification. Other projects include recycling, trash pick-up, and Hunters for the Hungry.
The Bonsack/Blue Ridge Ruritan Club meets at Bonsack United Methodist Church on the first Tuesday of each month. Their goal is to build a better community through community service, fellowship, and goodwill. They believe stronger communities make a better America.
One of their major fundraisers is their annual Chicken BBQ in the spring of each year.