As the newly elected Ruritan Piedmont District Governor, Pilot Mountain resident Donna Sutphin is setting a quick pace that looks as if it will last throughout the year.
Sutphin, a member of the Pilot Ruritan Club, was elected as district governor during the Piedmont District Convention held Nov. 19 at Cornerstone Christian Church in Mocksville. Her term runs from January-December.
The Piedmont District is made up of 12 zones and 57 Ruritan clubs. Many of those can be found in the rural Foothills region, including several in Surry and surrounding counties.
“Most of the clubs here are from a surge that took place in the 60s and 70s,” Sutphin explained. “These rural communities believed in neighbor helping neighbor and Ruritan provided an outlet for that. It gave structure to what they were doing.”
“That has continued,” she added, “but now, we’re definitely not limited to rural areas.”
In outlining a busy schedule, Sutphin points to getting to visit Piedmont District clubs as a priority. She looks forward to working with individual clubs, helping with problems while working to increase membership and coordination between clubs.
An emphasis, she said, will be helping clubs to promote themselves and their events, letting communities know that the structure of Ruritan clubs makes them ideal for helping to meet the needs of neighbors.
This ability to reach into the community, Sutphin explained, can be accomplished using the Ruritan community service guide and its committee structure. The guide is made up of five targeted committees – Citizenship and Patriotism, Environment, Business and Professions, Public Service and Social Development. This committee approach allows multiple projects to be undertaken and needs to be met simultaneously.
“Ruritans are not limited,” Sutphin said. “We can be flexible and versatile in meeting the needs of our community and its people.”
To properly utilize this flexibility, she continued, requires that clubs promote their availability to help and to maximize the effectiveness of funds raised.
“I’ve always heard that Ruritan is the best kept secret in town,” Sutphin explained. “But now the need is great. And in order to identify and meet those needs, we need to let people know that we’re here and we can help.”
Sutphin brings almost 15 years of experience in Ruritan service to her new position. She first served in the Rock House Ruritan Club for five years. After moving to Pilot Mountain in 2008, she became a member of the Pilot Ruritan Club. She has served as secretary and president in both clubs as well as having served as Piedmont District secretary. Last year was spent as lieutenant governor for the Piedmont District before advancing to governor for 2017.
In her new role, she has already attended the Ruritan National Convention, held Jan. 19-22 in Kingsport, Tennessee.
Not limited to Ruritan service, Sutphin has proven adept at finding other ways to reach into her community. She serves as church secretary and lay leader at Whitaker Chapel United Methodist Church, is a member of the Pilot Mountain VFW Post 9436 Auxiliary, volunteers at Mountain Valley Hospice and serves as secretary for the Pilot Mountain Civic Club. She also finds time to work at Trinity Glen Nursing Agency and Head Hunters Salon.
She describes her plans for the coming year with obvious excitement and anticipation.
“I’m looking at all kinds of public relations ideas to help clubs grow and get their names out,” Sutphin said. “This position is as busy as you make it and I’m looking forward to meeting groups and having fun with them. We raise money and give it away in order to meet needs in communities and I want to be hands-on in helping.”
“This is an honor,” she continued. “The district is very supportive of its officers and I’m looking forward to the remainder of the year.”
According to Ruritan National, there are more than 1,000 clubs in 25 states. The Ruritan motto is Fellowship, Goodwill and Community Service.
Sutphin encouraged anyone interested in forming a Ruritan club or joining an existing club to contact her for more information. She can be reached at (336) 416-4230 or by email at email@example.com.