Spirit of America in Guilford

Photo by Burgess Photography

Among those recently honored by the Spirit of America Foundation were Walter Boomsma–Abbot, John Brainard–Atkinson, Rodney Preble–Bowerbank, Brownville Public Library–Brownville, Friends of Central Hall and Maine Highlands Senior Center–Dover-Foxcroft, Prudy and David Richards–Greenville, Hardwood Products Company –Guilford, Damien Pickel– Milo, Barbara Wilbur–Parkman, Alvina Church –Sangerville, Sebec Community Christian—Sebec, Colleen Ashe—Shirley, and Walter Hish—Wellington.

Catch the Spirit of America!

Fourteen organizations and individuals to be honored

Guilford–Piscataquis County winners of the 2019 Spirit of America Foundation Tribute for outstanding community service will be honored at a ceremony on Friday, November 15, 2019 starting at 7:00 PM in the Valley Grange Hall 172 Guilford Center Road, Guilford.

The Spirit of America Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity established in Augusta, ME to encourage volunteerism.  Since the first Spirit of America Foundation award was presented to Alma Jones by Augusta’s Mayor in 1991, over 500 Spirit of America ceremonies have taken place. 

Those to be honored at the county wide ceremony include: Walter Boomsma–Abbot, John Brainard–Atkinson, Rodney Preble–Bowerbank, Brownville Public Library–Brownville, Friends of Central Hall and Maine Highlands Senior Center–Dover-Foxcroft, Prudy and David Richards–Greenville, Hardwood Products Company –Guilford, Damien Pickel– Milo, Barbara Wilbur–Parkman, Alvina Church –Sangerville, Sebec Community Christian—Sebec, Colleen Ashe—Shirley, and Walter Hish—Wellington.

The event is open to the public. “We hope friends and family of these recipients will come and help us salute these models of the volunteer spirit of America,” Sheriff Bob Young suggested. “This will be a fun, uplifting evening with no long speeches,” he promised.”

Valley Grange Program Director Walter Boomsma is excited the Grange has been given the honor of hosting the awards. “All Granges are about community and Valley Grange is certainly not an exception. We enjoy making our hall available to organizations dedicated to building strong individuals and communities. It is a special treat to host individuals and organizations doing just that!” The Grange will be serving refreshments immediately following the program.

Valley Grange Places Second in Maine State Grange Community Service Contest!

During the recent Maine State Grange Convention, Valley Grange was awarded a certificate for second place in the Grange’s Community Service Program in Maine. Judging was based on a book prepared and submitted by Mary Annis, Community Service Chairman for Valley Grange.

It’s a Busy Week!

Just a quick post to review this week’s schedule…

Tuesday, October 22, is PCES Dictionary Day and third graders will be visiting the Valley Grange Hall to receive their dictionaries!

Wednesday, October 23 is Ridgeview Dictionary Day and the Valley Grange Team will journey to Dexter to meet third graders and present dictionaries.

Thursday, October 24 is Bookworm Day at PCES and we’ll start with a kickoff assembly at the end of morning meeting… I wonder who will be the first student to ready with a bookworm?

If you have any questions about these events, let us know!

Film at Eleven!

Valley Grange Dictionary Day with SedoMoCha Third Graders to be featured on WVII ABC 7-Fox 22 News   

Today was Dictionary Day for 75 third graders and their teachers who came to the Valley Grange Hall filled with anticipation. In addition to learning about the Grange, students talked with Captain Jack Battick about the Civil War and how the Grange helped reunite the country when it ended. Program Director Walter Boomsma explained what the Grange does, including what we can learn from the four staves. “When we look at the pruning hook, what are examples of things we might want to prune from our classrooms?” In the course of all this, students encountered some unfamiliar words which necessitated a dictionary. Valley Grange members and bookworms helped distribute dictionaries and the kids, as always, went a little wild with excitement. They not only looked up the unfamiliar words, many searched for their names and other information.

A reporter from WLVI–Fox 22 captured much of the excitement and will air a story about the program tonight on the Six and Eleven O’clock News. The story should also be available on their website tomorrow.

Here is the link to the Piscataquis Observer Story: Valley Grange continues to be the definition of generosity.

Captain Jack Battick talks about the Civil War and the Grange’s role in bringing the country together after it was over.



That’s a lot of dictionaries!

This year’s pledge certificate from The Dictionary Project confirming Valley Grange has distributed close to 3,000 dictionaries throughout the area since starting our program! It’s great to be part of this! It’s almost inconceivable that the project has reached over 32 million students!

Valley Grange is Getting Busy!

The dictionaries for this year’s “Words for Thirds” program are on order (9 cases!). That meaans Dictionary Days are coming soon! But that’s not all that’s happening!

Bookworms will also be starting their visits to PCES in just a few weeks… We’ll have exact dates for these programs very soon!

Some dates we’re already sure of:

  • Tuesday, October 15 is SeDoMoCha Dictionary Day!
  • Friday, October 18 we’ll have our regular monthly meeting–potluck supper at 6 PM and meeting at 7 PM.
  • Tuesday, October 22 is P.C.E.S. Dictionary Day!
  • Thursday, October 25 is Bookworm Kickoff Day!
  • Friday October 25, Piscataquis County 4-H Clubs will have their annual awards dinner and celebration at Valley Grange starting at 5 PM.
  • Friday, November 15, Valley Grange hosts the Spirit of America Awards for Piscataquis County starting at 7 PM. We’ll also have a Community Social Hour following the meeting with drinks and desserts–and we’ll draw the winners of our Meat or Heat Raffle.

We could really use your help this year with our raffle! See a Grange member, stop by an event… buy some tickets and help us continue to support our communities!

Thanks again, Lt Kane!

An enthusiastic group of well-wishers and supporters took time out of a beautiful spring day to partake of Valley Grange’s free community supper in honor of Lt. Jamie Kane’s recent selection of the Grange Northeast Region Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. Vicki Huff, Past Master of the Maine State Grange, was on hand to complete the formal presentation, noting that this really is a “big deal” considering that Kane was selected at the Northeast Regional Conference representing all of the New England States and New York. Huff said that from the stories she’s heard and previous conversations with Kane she knows he does what he does because he loves doing it–not for the awards or recognition–and that is just one of many reasons he deserves it.

Walter Boomsma, Valley Grange Program Director said that there’s a “…notable change in attitudes towards law enforcement due in a large part to Kane’s work at Piscataquis Community Elementary School. The kids are developing an understanding that law enforcement is a very positive resource in our community. They run to him, not away from him.”

During his closing remarks, Boomsma noted that it’s great that as a society we have normalized thanking Veterans for their service. “We think nothing of walking up to a complete stranger, shaking his or her hand and saying thanks for your service. That is as it should be. But we truly have an opportunity to do the same for law enforcement officers who are putting their lives on the line for us every day. Tonight we honor Lt. Kane and many will shake his hand and say thanks. But just maybe we should do that with every officer we meet in our daily lives. These men and women are making incredible contributions and helping us build strong communities.”

Community Night at Valley Grange!

This is our annual celebration of our communities and their citizens. Please join us!

Newspapers in Education Winners Announced

Third and fourth graders from Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford were challenged to create an advertisement for Valley Grange as part of the annual “Newspapers in Education” program sponsored by the Piscataquis Observer. This is the eleventh year the Grange has sponsored the program. Students have an opportunity to become “Honorary Assistant Publicity Directors” according to Walter Boomsma, Program and Publicity Director for Valley Grange. Under the direction of Art Teacher Jane Daniels students labored to produce ads that would promote the grange and its programs.

The winning ads were featured during an assembly conducted at school by Boomsma on Thursday, April 4, 2019. Boomsma pointed out “everyone who participated is winner” and the Grange is providing “thank you magnets you can use to hold your school papers on the fridge.” Boomsma also noted that the Grange was particularly pleased so many ads included a reading theme and dictionaries, reflecting the students’ appreciation for the Grange’s Bookworm and Words for Thirds Program. “Our goal with the kids is to create a love of reading and learning. These ads suggest we’re achieving it.”

Third Grade winners announced at the recent school assembly conducted by the Grange included Kaydance Benson (3rd), and Macie Littlefield (1st). Macie’s first place drawing encouraged folks to visit the Valley Grange Website and included a bookworm.” Fourth grade winners included Ruth Harford (3rd), Prudence Bridge (2nd), and Danika Wyman (1st). Danika’s ad headline was “Make Your Voice Heard” and encouraged volunteering at Valley Grange to “help school kids learn and grow!”

All of the winners refused to give an acceptance speech with varying degrees of enthusiasm, but most were “media darlings” when interviewed and photographed by local reporter Stuart Hedstrom.

The ads selected as first place winners will appear in the Newspapers in Education supplement of the Piscataquis Observer on April 17, 2019. In addition, winning ads are used on the Grange’s promotional material throughout the year.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis said that Valley Grange is happy to sponsor a number of programs at PCES and other schools in the area. “We just love being at the school,” he noted. “These kids are our future and they give us hope.”