Fifty-six years ago, it took a group of men $100 each and donated land to build a community center where people gathered to dance and play music around an old wood stove.
A few miles and a few decades later, the Redwood Ruritan Club and Community Center sits down the road from a Lowe’s, Walmart and Kroger, all built within the past 10 years.
Guests arrive at the center with bingo dabbers of every color in totes. Good-luck charms line fold-out tables. Friends, like Anne Kelly and Kathy Matagrano, exchange secret handshakes before the game begins.
“This place is home,” Matagrano says. “If I can’t come on a Tuesday, I’m lost.”
The friends, who split everything they win, have been coming to the center together since Kelly’s husband died five years ago.
“You got to be in it to win it; I’m usually in it and don’t win it,” Kelly says with a chuckle.
Bingo nights began at the center in May 2006 and all of the proceeds go back to the community and surrounding areas. The money helps families in need and provides scholarships.
“You have a lot of people helping others. It’s a great group of people in Rocky Mount and it’s a good place to grow up,” says Steve Bousman, who has been coming to the center since he was 16 years old and is now its president.
The Ruritans took over the community center in 1967.
The years passed, and the community and the center grew. There is no longer a wood stove and women are allowed to join. On a Saturday night, folks gather to dance and listen to music.
– Jeanna Duerscherl | The Roanoke Times
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24151: Rocky Mount by the numbers
- Average household income: $49,915
- Population: 18,959
- Households: 7,855
- Average age: 40
- Average travel time to work in minutes: 26
Source: The Nielson Co., 2010