Jim and a very surprised Mary Annis accept National Community Service Award from Terry and Harriet Spencer.
At the first annual Valley Grange Hootenanny, State Officers Terry and Harriet Spencer surprised Valley Grange Members with the news that Valley Grange had placed “first in the nation based on their recent community service report.” In presenting the certificate, Terry Spencer noted that this is a “big honor not only for Valley Grange but for the state as well.”
A shocked Mary Annis, Community Service Chairperson, accepted the award admitting she “never dreamed we’d really win.” While Valley members are justifiably proud of their community service program, the competition for the national honor is fierce with over 2,000 granges in 37 states vying for the coveted award and first prize stipend of $400.
Asked to give some examples of the sorts of things that earned Valley the honor, Annis quickly listed off a number of programs that keep grangers involved with the schools and children: Words for Thirds, Bookworm Readying, Newspapers in Education… adding “these are the programs most people know about, but we do lots of other things too like helping with benefit suppers and collecting for food pantries…” She also confessed she’s already started on next year’s entry prompted her husband Jim to comment on how hard Mary works at the scrapbook-like report but “the only problem with it is all the holes in my newspaper when I try to read it because she’s cut out all the news articles about Valley Grange.”
We are number one!
Lecturer/Program Director Walter Boomsma noted that to a large extent the “work is the reward” and he thought perhaps next year’s theme would be “practice random acts of community because it really is about just that: community.” Earlier in the day he and Grange Master Jim Annis had completed this year’s Words for Thirds” program by traveling to Lagrange, Milo, and Brownville handing out dictionaries. “So there’s a lot to celebrate,” Boomsma said as he turned the program over to Susan Ramsey and her “accomplices” for some fine foot-stomping fiddle tunes as well as popular songs from country, folk, and gospel genres with a sprinkling of fun back-and-forth banter and educational snippets. Thanks to Susan’s remarkable talent, the audience discovered that fiddle can imitate a bagpipe and, if you close your eyes, you might not know the difference!
During intermission the annual raffle was drawn with the result that Cheryl Ricker of Wellington will receive her choice of whether her prize check will be made out for “meat or heat.” Grange bakers donated a number of pies for an old fashioined pie auction and thanks to the able assistance of the Homachuck Children from Dover Foxcroft an additional $65 was added to the proceeds from an evening meant to be “tons of fun” while raising much-needed funds to keep the Grange solvent and successful.