On July 2, 2011, Jane Ruehrwein was sitting in her parked car in Buffalo, NY when she was violently rear-ended. The police officer that responded to the accident thought Jane was dead. Blessedly, she survived the accident, but it left her disabled. She had severe whiplash, injuries to her hips, liver, and a brain tumor. After the accident, Jane decided to move to Powhatan to be close to her daughter, who could help her with her daily needs. Jane views her move to Powhatan as a miracle. She was able to get a great deal on a house that was in foreclosure and that house was located next door to her daughter. Jane needed an operation for her brain tumor, which required a Gamma Knife procedure. Richmond is one of only three cities on the East Coast that has a Gamma Knife Center.
Jane said, “What are the odds that I buy a house that is next door to my daughter and it is only 12 miles away from the place where they could operate on my tumor? God had his hand on me and I’ve seen so many miracles along the way. Everything is in God’s timing. I feel like I rest in the palm of God’s hand. He’s helped to heal me to the point where I can serve in church and civic clubs.” Jane has been serving at Bethel for several years now. She really enjoys singing in our Christmas Cantata. If you haven’t had a chance to meet Jane, allow me to share a few details. She was raised outside of Buffalo NY and earned a dental hygienist degree at Erie Community College. She then moved to Denver to finish her undergraduate degree at Colorado University at Boulder. Then she studied at the Colorado School of Mines, which is a mining and engineering school. She then went to the University of Iowa School of Dentistry and that’s where she met her husband Bob who is also a dentist. Bob serves in the US Navy as a dentist. He is scheduled to leave the Navy in August of this year. Jane and Bob have four children and they live in the Flat Rock area of Powhatan.
One of the things that I appreciate about Jane is her resilience and her perspective on life and faith. It’s a perspective that was born from tragedies. Jane’s first husband was a pilot and he was tragically killed at 29 years old in a hang-glider accident. Jane had a four-year-old child at the time of her first husband’s death. Jane said, “One minute I’m talking to my husband and telling him how much I love him and a few hours later the police are knocking at my door. Obviously, that affected me, but I couldn’t let it define me. My mother-in-law lost her son and when he died, she lost her joy and it never returned. She didn’t smile again and she passed away shortly after he died.” Jane has learned from the tragedies she’s faced.
She says, “These are the ‘big storms’ that knock you off your feet. It’s cataclysmic, but God comes along and puts a net under you and will carry you through it. In my china cabinet, I keep a copy of the “Footprints” poem. It reminds me of the places in life where there is only one set of footprints. When I see those single set of footprints I know that God didn’t leave me, he carried me. I know God is with me and every day is a new day, a gift from the Lord. I have hope and I had this hope from the beginning when the doctors were telling me bad things about my body. I’ve always had hope. With everything I’ve been through, I’ve found the best treatment for depression is to rely on God and give back to other people.” Jane certainly practices what she preaches. On December 11, 2021, she was installed as the President of the Powhatan Ruritan Club. The Ruritan’s are a community civic group. The name Ruritan is a combination of the Latin words for open country, “ruri”, and small town, “tan.” It means rural and small-town life.
Jane shared with me that much of the charitable work of the Ruritan Club is “Gospel work.” For example, they support Madeline’s House, Hunters for the Hungry, Powhatan Christmas Mother, Lonesome Dove Equestrian Center for injured veterans, Powhatan Free Clinic, and Meals on Wheels, just to name a few. Jane said, “I feel giving back is crucial for the success of our community. I like it because it’s not overwhelming. You can work at your own pace and do what you can do and then I just love meeting new people in the community.” Jane attended the Ruritan National convention in January and she left that convention with a conviction. She said, “Coming together is the beginning, staying together is a process, working together is success. We’re not islands. I think the churches and community organizations can work together for the success of the community. After losing my first husband I came to realize that we all have to work together.” To that, I say, amen.
God has certainly worked in and through Jane’s life. God doesn’t promise us that life will be easy or trouble-free, but He does promise us the gift of His presence and Jane is very aware of God’s presence in the good times, in the bad times, through all times. One of the ways that I’m aware of God’s presence is by watching how God works through people, people like Jane, who live to serve Christ by serving others. Perhaps you’d like to join Jane in helping our community. If you’re interested in joining the Powhatan Ruritan Club, please email Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Bruce Lewis, Romy Merchant, or Dave Jeter, who are members of Bethel and they also serve in the Ruritan Club. May God bless Jane and Bob Ruehrwein and may God bless Bethel Baptist Church.