The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

October 13, 2007

40th anniversary

Trumbull area Ruritan Club marks 4 decades of service

TRUMBULL TOWNSHIP — Tucked away at the corner of Graham Road and Route 166 is a tiny community park and historic buildings, all used by the Trumbull Area Ruritan Club for their headquarters. Tall maple and oak trees and a veterans memorial monument and playground equipment grace the area, which is known to many people as Footville.

“We serve all of Trumbull Township. Years ago it was split in three sections, but our mission is still to bring people together,” said Ted Ocepek, a long time member. “The mission goals of Ruritan Club are community people meeting community needs. That’s what we have done for 40 years,” he said.

Ocepek, a retired media reporter and cameraman for a Cleveland TV station, lives across from the site. As club secretary, he along with other 12 hardworking members, keep the club going.

Ocepek said the buildings, both the nearby church and Footville School, were sold to the Ruritans for $1 in 1971. “Unity is the last word in community. We are trying to reknit the community of 1,500 here in the township. It was once three separate areas — Footville, East Trumbull and Center Trumbull, then became Trumbull Township. Part of our goal has been to bring more members in to the organization to serve everyone,” Ocepek said.

“The Footville Schoolhouse Society and Footville church folks couldn’t keep up the maintenance on the buildings. Our club met in the schoolhouse for a number of years before buying it. We made most of the renovations after getting the building. We’ve redone the interior and put a handicap ramp to the front entrance,” Ocepek said.

Some families living near the Footville schoolhouse often use the park for gatherings. On occasion, travelers will stop at the picnic tables for a quick lunch.

“Some of the original students at this school still live here in the township,” said John McMahan, a charter member of the club. McMahan said he got involved during the time he worked for state government through his late father-in-law, Erval Spafford.

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