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Ruritan leader honored for 65 years of service

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Many improvements have been made to the White Oak community thanks to the Ruritan Club. Tuesday, the Ruritan Club celebrated one of their longest serving members.

Linward Hedgpeth from the National Ruritan presented John F. Burney with an award on behalf of National Ruritan and the White Oak Ruritan Club for 65 years of unselfish service and commitment to Ruritan and to the community as a member of the White Oak Ruritan Club.

“Anyone who has served the Ruritan Club for 65 years deserves the recognition,” Hedgpeth said.

Burney is 102 years old and he and his late wife, Mabel Burney, raised five children in their beautiful home in White Oak.

Burney was a founding member of the White Oak Ruritan Club.

“I enjoyed  being in the community.” Burney said.

The White Oak Ruritan Club helped people who were victims of house fires, they gave scholarship to students, and the club did a lot of community projects as leaders in the community, according to Bonnie Meeker, Burney’s daughter.

Meeker also said her father was on the White Oak School Board and he and some other men in the community started the Ruritan Club as a non-religious group just wanting to help their community.

One of the many Ruritan members at the celebration was Mary Stokes, the widow of Fulton Stokes. Fulton Stokes was also a founding member and was a National President of the Ruritan Club in 1960.

“It is great to be here,” Ms. Stokes said. “John did a lot of great things in our community and he deserves this award.”

The celebration ended with many smiles, handshakes, hugs and Burney’s family serving up strawberry short cake.