The Hamilton Community Foundation presented Ralph “Pat” Carruthers with the Dave Belew Legacy Award at its annual meeting this week.
“The David L. Belew Legacy Award is an annual honor, presented by the Foundation, to recognize an individual or family whom has made significant contributions of time, talent or resources to improve the quality of life in our community,” said Foundation Board Chair Kathleen Klink at Tuesday’s gathering at the Courtyard by Marriott.
Belew, retired president and CEO of Beckett Paper and a long-time supporter of the Community Foundation, personally presented the award to his long-time friend.
Belew noted that Carruthers spent his childhood on a cattle farm in Glendale then served eight years in the Marines before attending Miami University when he came to Hamilton to work at Champion Paper Company.
“He began in the lowest position and worked his way through the mill for 23 years, ending up at the top in the sales service department,” he said.
It was while working at Champion that Carruthers met his future wife, Donna Young, a Hamilton native, who came up with the idea to help needy family each year at Christmas.
“From that philanthropic endeavor, the Carruthers responded to many community needs with a generous spirit,” Belew said. “The more they were blessed financially, the more they gave back to the community they felt had given so much to them.”
Through the years, the Carruthers family has given “untold millions” to Fort Hamilton Hospital, the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, Community First Solutions, the Boys and Girls Club, Hamilton City Schools and many other organizations.
When Donna Carruthers passed away in August 2009, Carruthers established a Fine Arts Memorial Scholarship in her name at the Foundation, one of several funds the family has created there.
“Pat’s example of being an avid community volunteer devoted to our city has been passed on to Sara and his two grandchildren, Elizabeth Procter Carruthers and Ralph Rogan “Rogue” Carruthers II,” Belew said.
“I miss my Donna,” Carruthers said in accepting the award. “She was a Lindenwald girl, so one of the first things we did was make arrangements for the pools to remain open because they were in dire need of repairs.”
He said the latest project for the family has been to fund the updating of the emergency room at the Fort Hamilton Hospital and 29 private rooms on the fifth floor of Mercy Hospital in Fairfield.
“I am fortunate to have Sarah follow in Donna’s and my endeavors and that helps every day,” he said.
Other speakers at the annual meeting included Mike Dingeldein, who updated the membership on the activities of the CORE Fund; Madison Lewis, Ross High School senior and president of the Youth Philanthropy Committee, which awarded $35,000 this year to youth-oriented charities and activities; and Woody Fitton, president of the Great Miami Valley YMCA, who spoke on the collaboration between the Y and the City of Hamilton to revitalize the Booker T. Washington Community Center.
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