By Curtis Peterson and Robert Hodge
In 2019, the 60-member, 59-year-old White Hall Ruritan Club completed a two-year self-examination of the club’s community activities. The goal of the study, named A Better Place, was to assure that club resources were being used effectively. Sixty-three new ideas and programs were suggested in the areas of community service, educational support, expanding uses of the historic clubhouse, and—a new topic—disaster/emergency preparedness. Prophetically, the latter topic was added before the current pandemic exploded.
It is known that resilient, prepared communities experience major disasters more successfully than the unprepared. A resilient community—as noted in Albemarle County’s Disaster Preparedness Report—is an informed, reactive, and trained community. In response to this need, a new club committee has been formed: the Safe and Ready Committee. The mission of this committee is to prepare the White Hall Ruritan Club, its members, their families, and the White Hall community to anticipate, plan for, and successfully respond to local emergencies.
Robert Hodge and Curtis Peterson are co-chairs of the Safe and Ready committee, whose members include Joe Adkins, Cleve Campbell and Ann Mallek. “Preparedness is not a single activity or event, nor does it ever stop. Our first goals have been to improve our ability to communicate with club members and to link members to existing county alert systems, specifically the Code Red program. Some members are taking online FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) programs,” said Peterson. Bill Baer, Club President, recently organized the display of signs urging the wearing of masks during the pandemic around the community. Kim Taylor, a Ruritan Club member, designed the posters. They are hoping to inspire other local communities.
The club holds Zoom meetings at 7 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month, which are open to interested guests. The next meeting is Dec. 17. The club’s website can be found at whitehallruritan.org.