If you’ve ever wondered about Richmond’s Military Retiree Club at the corner of Sledd Street and Chamberlayne Avenue (just north of School Street), the Richmond Free Press is ready with some answers. The Free Press, which posts its content online as PDF documents, recently profiled the club’s president. (A tip of the hat to John […]
If you’ve ever wondered about Richmond’s Military Retiree Club at the corner of Sledd Street and Chamberlayne Avenue (just north of School Street), the Richmond Free Press is ready with some answers. The Free Press, which posts its content online as PDF documents, recently profiled the club’s president. (A tip of the hat to John Murden at Church Hill People’s News for the info.)
Webster G. Ballard believes that retired military veterans should have a place to enjoy themselves. That’s why he’s so dedicated to the Military Retirees Club on Richmond’s North Side.
The retired chief counselor with the Navy has been a member for 25 years of the club at the corner of Chamberlayne Avenue and Sledd Street. Remarkably, he also has served 13 of those years as president. That’s longer than anyone else among the 105 members, all of whom spent 20 or more years on active duty or in the reserves.
The 68-year-old Maryland native recently was elected to his latest two-year term as president. He took a four-year break before running this year. When he completes his current term, he will have served 15 years as president.
“I felt I had more to offer,” he says of his decision to seek his latest term.
Since leaving the Navy in 1982, he has spent much of his time teaching automotive technology classes at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College after receiving an associate degree at JSRCC.
He taught full time until 1999. He continues to teach part time. In the upcoming semester, he’ll teach car repair to Cumberland and Goochland high school students who are dual-enrolled for college credits. He also loves driving his Corvette.
However, Mr. Ballard frankly says the club, where he spends about four hours a day, “is my favorite place.”
His main reason: The camaraderie. “I was in the Navy, but here I get to talk with people who were in every branch of the service.”
Mr. Ballard also is proud to be part of an organization that gives back to the community.
He ticks off a list of events the club hosts to benefit others. Among them is the annual benefit dance to raise money for college scholarships. Last year, he says, the club presented a total of $10,000 in scholarships to 10 area students. Each received $1,000 for higher education.
Every year, club members also provide a Thanksgiving Day feast for the homeless and a Christmas party for underprivileged children, he says.
And the club is a popular place for community groups, including the Richmond Crusade for Voters, to hold meetings and social events.