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Longtime civic servants to lead Deltaville parade

by Kelsey Robusto

Raymond Benson and Lavinia Ruark are the grand marshals of this Saturday’s Heritage Day Parade in Deltaville. Above, the two grand marshals stand in front of the Deltaville Community Association (DCA) building.

The Deltaville Community Association (DCA) will honor two longtime civic servants this Saturday, July 5, at Heritage Day in Deltaville. Lavinia Ruark and Raymond Benson have been selected to serve as grand marshals of the Heroes Parade for their long history of contributions and service to the Deltaville area.

Benson was just 4 when his family moved from Lancaster County to Deltaville, and he had lived in the village for the past 73 years. “It’s home,” Benson said. “I’ve been here a long time and I haven’t found another place I’d rather be.”

Likewise, Ruark moved to Deltaville when she was very young. In the third grade, Ruark’s father, the original owner of Taylor’s Restaurant, moved the family from Norfolk to Deltaville, which has since been Ruark’s home. “I’d say I’ve lived here all my life,” Mrs. Ruark said. “I love it here.”

It was in Deltaville that Mrs. Ruark began her training as a hairstylist and where she gained connections with John McGurk, a display decorator for shops from Chicago to Florida, with whom she worked for nine years. She also helped her husband, Eugene H. Ruark, start their marina. The Ruarks’ son Gene has operated the marina since Mrs. Ruark’s retirement 10 years ago.

Benson has been deeply rooted with the Middlesex County Volunteer Rescue Squad, which is based in Deltaville. With 50 years of service, Benson is the longest active member in the squad. “And I’m still running with them,” he added.

In addition, Benson has contributed his time to the DCA, the Deltaville Volunteer Fire Department and the Deltaville Ballpark. Also, Benson has done electrical work in the area since he was 15 years old.

“Raymond is a bedrock as far as giving back to the community,” said Bob Walker, president of the DCA. “He just continues to do things out of his own pocket. For example, he redid the electric in the DCA building for free.”

“We could sit and talk all day about Raymond’s dedication to his friends and community,” said DCA board member Billy Norton. “His service to the community is second to none.”
Mrs. Ruark also is praised for her lifelong dedication to Deltaville. “She’s just been a remarkable, good citizen,” said her son, Gene Ruark. “Also, she’s been a benefactor to the Deltaville Maritime Museum. She donated a very large bronze sculpture.”

Both Mrs. Ruark and Benson have had a major positive impact on the Deltaville community. “We don’t want to miss the opportunity to honor our senior people,” Walker noted.
The two grand marshals will lead the Heroes Parade this Saturday at 2 p.m. on Route 33 through the heart of Deltaville.

posted 07.03.2008

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