Local woman named Ruritan national director

Susan Greisz

MOUNT JACKSON – Local resident Susan Greisz is the new national director of the Ruritan Club.

“It’s truly an honor for me to have been elected on the national board,” Greisz said.

She was elected at the organization’s national convention held Jan. 7 -10 in Jacksonville, Florida.

“I am the second-ever to be a national director out of Shenandoah County,” she said, adding that she hopes others will follow her lead and participate at the national level.

Greisz spent the last year campaigning and ran against two others in Virginia.

In the organization, states are broken up into districts and Greisz has been assigned to the Appomattox district. She will be traveling a lot for her new role, which is an unpaid volunteer-based position for three years.

In March, she will be attending the national board meeting, which will include training for her new role.  Her responsibilities include sitting on the national board, which she said is broken down into committees.  She is on the Leadership and Development Committee.

“I am a teacher. I put on the classes, I help write the training,” she said.

Before being elected national director, Greisz held many other positions within the organization for over a decade.

She has been a member of the West Shenandoah Ruritan Club since 2001 with 14 years of perfect attendance. She has been secretary for eight years; she was vice president in 2008, president in 2009, club director in 2010 and was named Ruritan of the Year in 2005.

There are eight different clubs in Shenandoah with 275 members, she said. The West Shenandoah Ruritan Club serves Mount Jackson, Orkney Springs and Basye with 56 members.

“I was the first woman to be invited,” she said.

The West Shenandoah club is part of the Rockingham District of the Ruritan organization. At the district level, she was district governor in 2014, lieutenant governor in 2013 and was chosen as Governor of the Year in 2011. She served as convention chair in 2010 and 2011.

At the national level, she previously served as convention delegate from 2012-2015 and sergeant-at-arms in 2014.

The Ruritan Club is a leading national community service organization in both urban and rural community. It was founded in Holland, Virginia, in 1928. There are 1,100 clubs in 26 states and a membership of over 26,000, Greisz said.

She noted that each club serves the needs of its community through scholarships and by supporting school groups, volunteering at free clinics, placing flags in local cemeteries during holidays, and more.

Ruritan membership is by invitation only from a local club member.

“Our membership is dropping, but so are all civic organizations,” she said. “But we continue to remain strong.”

A new initiative within the club is trying to get youth more involved within the organization.

“Youth don’t know the word ‘no’, or ‘I can’t,'” she said. “They are really excited all the time.”

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com