Although newly-elected commissioner Barry Woodruff will not take office until next month, he and his family have already submersed themselves in the community and giving back. The Woodruffs participated on Wednesday, Dec. 19, in making a Christmas party possible for the Brown County Senior Citizens organization, whose Christmas luncheon last year went awry.
Woodruff's father ran a church in Eastgate and had a senior citizens group called "Senior Saints." "The people here remind me of that group," Barry Woodruff said. "Some of them here have led real good lives, some of them have post high school education, some do not. Some of their health is still relatively good, and some of them are not in good health. You can talk to people in here who have a few bucks and you can talk to people in here that are wondering how they're going to pay their bills next month. It's a cross-section of Brown County."
His wife, Karen Woodruff; their daughter and son-in-law, Becky and Denny Wallace; their granddaughter Courtney Weston; and their great-granddaughter, Kalli Weston; were also present to serve food and support the cause. Their son, Barry Woodruff Jr., could not be present due to a job on the road. "We moved out here 24 years ago and we have done things in smaller segments for people, but we never announce it," Barry Woodruff said. "We've helped folks who needed a car battery so they could get back and forth to work, or they needed a starter put on, some of them needed tires. Well, we're not wealthy but we try to help people when we can."
Lily Prickett, of Brown County Senior Citizens, said her group is grateful for what the Woodruffs put together for them. "We told the group that we were going to cover their entire Christmas luncheon," Woodruff said. "You don't bring a cup, a fork, a knife, a spoon, you don't bring your plate - you just dress up, come here and eat." The event was held at the Georgetown American Legion, and the family even hired a custodian to clean up the mess - work that is usually done by the seniors themselves after their events. "We just wanted everyone to be able to enjoy themselves," Woodruff said.
The Woodruffs served approximately 100 meals. There were about 80 group members present, while 20 meals were packaged for those who could not attend. "We also had about 20 shut-ins," Woodruff said. "That means a person who can't physically get here, their health is bad, they can't get a ride. So we're going to have the caterer box up dinners for them. The seniors here today are going to take them to their friends and neighbors who couldn't make it." The Woodruffs also provided decorations for the event, which featured poinsettia center pieces that were given away after the lunch, holiday place mats, table cloths, and other Christmas-themed room decorations. Woodruff estimates the entire affair cost over $1,000, but was well worth it.
Barry and Karen Woodruff decided not to exchange Christmas presents this year, and instead put the money toward the BCSC Christmas luncheon. "Helping out is just something I've done since I was raised," Barry Woodruff said. "If I was blessed, my blessings are to bless others. I'm not taking any money with me when I leave this earth, I'm not leaving much behind. It was a family project."Kudos to Mr. Woodruff and his family. I did not know him that well when he began his campaign, but his candor, attitude, and desire to help have really helped me get to know him and his motives to help Brown County grow. I hope he continues and brings this same can-do attitude to the job of commissioner, and I hope that people will support the three commissioners as there are some tough days ahead, but with people like Mr. Woodruff who put people first and have the compass oriented in the right direction, we can hopefully look forward to great leadership.