The Richlands Ruritan club met on Oct. 14 at the Calvary Methodist Church. After dinner was served, the members conducted a short business meeting. Rachael Austin was appointed chairman of the 2016 Programs Committee. Cliff Gillian and Rick McClung were appointed to the audit committee. Frank Tuckwiller was selected to represent the club at the annual Ruritan District Convention on Nov. 14.
The program for the evening was a presentation by Kara Dense, executive director of the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Dense is a graduate of Concord University and a native of Rainelle.
The Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a regional visitor center covering Pocahontas, Monroe, Summers and Greenbrier counties. Funding comes from a hotel/motel tax. Thus, the bureau is paid for by visitors to the area. The annual budget is $950,000. Tourism is tied with education as the largest employer in Greenbrier County. Tourism generated revenue of $247 million in 2012 in Greenbrier County.
Every business gets a free listing with the Bureau. As many as 37,000 people visit the Visitors Center each year. In addition, the center is available for meetings and exhibits.
The Visitors Center is staffed by five full-time and four part-time employees and overseen by a 14-member board of directors. The Convention and Visitors Bureau makes strong use of digital media to promote the surrounding area. Recently, the Greenbrier Valley was featured in the October 2015 issue of Southern Living magazine.
The Richlands Ruritan club meets on the second Wednesday of each month for a dinner meeting at the Calvary Methodist Church on Route 60W.
The Ruritan Civic organization is a national network of clubs working together for a stronger America. The Ruritan focus is to support community services in small towns and rural communities across America. The Ruritans were founded in 1928 in Holland, VA, and celebrated their 87th year this May. The Richlands Ruritan Club provides scholarships to local college students and 4-H campers and maintains Tuckwiller Park.