Hatchery gives Community Center $9,070

By Chris Baldus, cbaldus@charlescitypress.com

RUDD —The sign behind them is off a 1914 school building that’s no longer there.

“It was the original building,” Dan Sinning, vice president of the Rudd Community Betterment Corp., said. “When we got it, the roof was falling in on that … building. So we just finally got enough money to destroy it.”

That made more room for parking at the Rudd Community Center, which just received more than $18,000 for maintenance and repairs from a fundraising campaign matched by the hometown cornerstone business, Hoover’s Hatchery. That is why representatives of the hatchery and the Betterment Corp. stood under the sign Friday holding a large plastic check.

Hoover’s Hatchery’s Mary Halsted stood in the middle. The check was written out for $9,070. Her late husband, Doug taught social studies in the school before his education career eventually took him to the Rockford school where he was a guidance counselor and a coach.

Her son Tony, managing partner at the hatchery, also standing under the sign, attended school in the building. The Community Center room they were in, today filled with white folding tables and chairs and a small bar, was where he attended kindergarten.

Hoover’s Hatchery committed to match the Betterment Corp.’s fundraising campaign dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000. So, in total, $18,140 was raised to help make improvements.

The Betterment Corp. raised $9,070 through 25 donations between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016, according to a news release from the hatchery.

“We would really like to thank them and everybody else who donated to us,” Sinning said.

Mary and Tony Halstead said they hoped the matching donation would inspire more donations to the cause.

“The Rudd Betterment has served our community for many years, and we realized that they share our same vision in helping to continue to improve our community for years to come,” Tony Halsted is quoted in the news release. “This was a great partnership, and we’re glad we could help them make improvements to the Rudd school.”

The Rudd Community Betterment Corp. Committee includes President Jim Ohden, Sinning, Secretary Velda DeBuhr, Susan Dahm, Kathy Smith and Mike Rachet.

The community center serves as a place for Rudd and surrounding towns to hold family celebrations and many community events, such as the annual events of a haunted house and a Mother’s Day dinner.

The community center does not have regular hours. Members are given keys to the facility and can use it when they wish. Annual memberships cost $25 for individual and $50 for families.

Members must rent out facilities for events such as wedding receptions and birthday parties, however.

“Being a small town … there aren’t a lot of places for people to have events without going to Mason City or Charles City,” Hoover’s Hatchery Chief Financial Officer Luke Weiss said. “So this is kind of a unique spot, a facility that allows people to do that … for not a lot of cost”

The fundraising campaign seeks to replace the stage floor, repair the gym floor, update the facility’s bathrooms, replace ceiling tiles, and continue the resurfacing the kitchen, restrooms and hallway floors, according to the news release.

Rudd Community Betterment already replaced the leaky roof over the gym and the front entrance, and began resurfacing kitchen and hallway floors, the release added.

“The partnership between Hoover’s Hatchery and Rudd Betterment proves that new ownership of Hoover’s is committed to the Rudd community,” the news release said.

Rudd Community Betterment is still accepting donations. Checks payable to Rudd Betterment Committee can be mailed to PO Box 203, Rudd, IA 50471.

“We’re always looking for donations,” Sinning said.” I mean we’ll be honest about it.”

He added, “We can handle more volunteer help. We never turn down help that’s for sure.”

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