Happy Birthday, Betty!

Betty VanDyke continues to be a big supporter of Valley Grange in as many ways as possible. Betty recently celebrated her 9oth Birthday with a party attended by many friends and Grangers. Those couldn’t attend sent cards and messages. This is Betty’s appreciation and some thoughts about her Grange career.

A Happy Betty is flanked by her daughters Lois (left) and Ginny at her 90th birthday celebration.

I don’t think anyone will ever know how I feel about the Grange and how badly I felt the day I wrote for a demit that I knew I would never use.  Those 28 years were the best years of my life and I miss those days a lot.  The work I did being Lecturer of Valley Grange for oh so many years were growing years for me and grow I did using my brain to prepare the programs that I hoped would be satisfactory for the night.  Being on the CWA committee where my husband had to bring me to Augusta and “cart women  around” was a highlight of my belonging.  Then being asked to be Community Service Director of the Maine State Grange, how proud I was for that, receiving  a Plaque of Achievement for work well done was over the top. I tell you all this not to brag but to let you how much the Grange meant to me.

I was “from away,” you see, and people told me then that I would never be accepted.   But I tell you here and now I have been accepted and you can be too.  The friends I have made through this journey are precious to me because they don’t forget. I have seen this recently on the occasion of my 90th birthday with the cards and Facebook messages from Grangers near and far.

I do hope with all my heart that Valley Grange grows with the community as I try to help out in whatever manner I can.  If you are from away, please don’t try to change these good people, they have a lot to offer to you and you will be happier if you listen  to them. Join what ever Grange is closest to you.  Join to help them, your community and yourself.  And as the Girl Scouts sing, “Make new friends, keep the old, one is silver the other is gold.”  As a member of the Grange you can accomplish a lot.

Best of luck to all Granges everywhere.

I remain your friend,

Betty VanDyke

Christmas Offering…

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Welcome, New Members!

Becky and Dennis Patterson

Valley Grange is pleased and excited to welcome our newest members, Dennis and Becky Patterson from Abbot. Both decided to join after recently attending the Italian Buffet to benefit Smart Starts. They enjoyed the atmosphere and appreciated the work of the Grange.

Becky works with Charlotte White and Dennis is recently retired from True Textiles where he was a high pressure boiler operator. After hearing just some of the activities we have Becky joked, “What have I got myself into?!!” Both are enjoying meeting new people and making friends and Dennis is considering becoming a bookworm! Look for them at Valley Grange events and say a word of congratulations and welcome!

Grange membership has become a lot “easier” than it was years ago and it’s affordable–dues are currently only $25 per year. The rewards are many including an opportunity to have fun helping your community and neighbors. Our next meeting is September 21 when we have a planning roundtable to outline our projects and programs for 2012-2013. Come join us and see what we mean by American Values–Hometown Roots.

Grange Members Stay Members!

Harriet Mitchell is happy to be a Granger!

In conjunction with our Annual Community Service Program, Valley Grange recognized long-term members. This year the list included Paul Curtis joined May 7, 1952 (60 years ago) and two 65 year members: Elizabeth Herring who joined August 30, 1947 and Harriett Mitchell who joined May 29, 1947. Harriet was able to attend and accept her recognition in person, pointing out that she has a birthday coming soon and will be 87 years young.  She admits that as the years have passed she hasn’t been too active, and there aren’t too many of her generation left. But she still recognizes a few people and proved it by pointing several folks out.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted that “Grange Members tend to stick around” because “membership is a great thing and very likely contributes to a long life.” He also suggested Harriet should mark her calendar and plan to come back for her seventieth anniversary five years from now.

Program Director Walter Boomsma said that while the Guilford-based Grange has lots of energy and projects throughout the county, they can always use help and are especially seeking new members. “It doesn’t have to be a 60 to 70 year commitment,” he noted. “But we hope and trust that members will want to remain a part of an organization that is steeped in tradition, but very relevant in today’s communities.”

Ode to Friends…

Valley Grange Chaplain Janice Boomsma added a special touch to our recent Memorial Service with this poem by Betty VanDyke:

One by one they take that step
That takes them to Heaven’s Gate,
First Laura, then Jean, Marilyn and Merna too
All go to meet St. Peter the Great.
He looks in his book to see what they have done
In their lifetime–one by one.
He tells them all they have surpassed their goal
And now are angels to guard us all.
We shall miss all these friends, yes indeed–
And we look forward to the day
We will once again see
Our friends.

Fraternal Concern: Many around the area know Betty from her dedicated grange work… She’s still pretty feisty at 87 years old (and writing poetry!), but recently fell and broke her shoulder… remember her with a card:

Mrs. Betty VanDyke
Hibbard’s Nursing/Rehab – Room 18
PO Box 159
Dover Foxcroft ME 04426

Coming VERY soon!

Thursday, July 7–Pomona Picnic

We’re still on for Thursday… come any time after 5 PM—the grill will start at 6 PM… our auction promises to be fun… and we’ll finish up with the traditional marshmallow roast. Right now the weather forecast is “scattered thundershowers.” Let’s hope they are scattered somewhere besides Abbot! Complete details are posted here.

Friday, July 15–Monthly Meeting

In lieu of a traditional meeting, we’ll be supporting Pine Tree Hospice as they celebrate their 25th Anniversary from 5 – 8 on the Mayo Hospital Grounds. It’s a free family barbeque, entertainment and silent auction… should be a fun evening! We’ll meet there. If you have any questions about our participation, call Jim and Mary at 564-0820. This could end up being one of our “easiest” meetings this year!

July 16 Pomona Degree Day

This starts at 3 PM at Garland Grange and will include all granges in the area. New members who joined this year are especially encouraged to come… If you are part of the “degree team,” make sure you’ve reviewed your part in the manual. There will be a paid supper – we are being asked to help with desserts. Call Bill at 924-3537 or Jean at 924-3504 to see what’s needed.

July 22 Supper/Hootenanny

Summer fun! Enjoy a traditional baked bean suppah and some great music by Susan Ramsey and The North Country Strings… Supper starts at 5 PM, music starts at 7 PM. Come to one or both! Everything is by donation so this is definitely affordable family fun. Complete details are coming soon!

July 23-24 JD Foundation Yard Sale

Congratulations to Vic and Blaine for completing the bike ride across Maine for Suicide Awareness… They pedaled some 538 miles and made contact with a lot of people. After finishing up, Vic said, “In bicycling there’s always one more hill to climb and for people suffering from mental illness and depression I feel this is also true. Blaine and I were able to climb those hills because we were well prepared with great equipment. We as a society need to provide the needed tools and equipment to those suffering from these diseases so they too can climb their hills.” That is, of course, one of the points of the annual yard sale—to raise funds so they can provide tools and equipment to help people climb their hills. You can obviously help by attending and buying stuff, but note also that Vic and Cheryl could use some help getting ready, during the sale itself and after… their Yard Sale is “wicked huger” than Valley Grange’s! Send Cheryl an email with your offer to help and check out this post!

July 30 River Festival

Grange members and bookworm readers will be at the Valley Grange Information Booth… Come by and say “Hi!”

Community Honors Dodie Curtis

Dodie Curtis reminded everyone, "It takes all of us..."

Guilford— Valley Grange hosted nearly 100 people at their recent open house and celebration of community. Festivities at the annual meeting included a community potluck supper and slide presentation featuring some of the grange’s activities throughout the year. Following the slide presentation, program director Walter Boomsma noted that Valley Grange received the First Place National Grange Award for Community Service last fall and “…in some ways winning was real easy. It’s just a matter of doing what you love and care about.”
In keeping with the community theme, Grange Master Jim Annis presented Valley’s Annual Community Citizen Award to Dolores “Dodie” Curtis explaining that her nomination included the observation “She is a former Chief of Nurses at Mayo Hospital, works with people who need physical therapy at the Fitness Center in Guilford, and spearheaded the campaign for all the tulip ribbon gardens throughout town. She also personally sold hundreds of tulips to individuals for their own gardens in remembrance of loved ones…  She is on the Library Board of Directors, involved with the Garden Club, and teaches marzipan decorating classes… if you mention her name to others you would hear her described as a loving, caring person…”

Friends and family supported this observation with numerous examples of Curtis’s caring for others and her community. Speakers included Fran Moore of the Physically Challenged Club who told Curtis, “You bring such special gifts… we bring a token of our appreciation for all you give.” Flowers and words and hugs and kisses flowed freely, intermingled with a few tears.  In her response Curtis pointed out that “when you give, it all comes back to you…” and reminded everyone “it takes a lot of us.”

65 years isnt THAT long!

Valley Grange member and musician Merna Dunham from Milo was also recognized for 65 years of Grange Membership. Opal Bennett could not be present but was also honored and will be awarded a 75 certificate.

The roots of the Grange date back to Farmers’ Clubs that existed in the 1850’s. The Grange itself was officially formed in 1867 as “Patrons of Husbandry.” Over the years the Grange’s focus has shifted from agriculture to community and community service but without abandoning the rich agricultural heritage.

Boomsma noted that Dunham and Bennett are examples of how Grange Members “Stick with it because it’s a great organization.” He added, “…and Dodie is right; it takes a lot of us” and observed that while Valley Grange is passionate about and active in a wide variety of service-oriented projects, “We really need some help. We’ll take what you can give us; even if it’s just fifteen minutes a month. The Grange is truly and easy organization to belong to, but even if you can’t belong we’ll take your hands, head and heart.”  Volunteer cards allowing citizens to express their interest are available from any Grange Member. Those who are interested can also call Boomsma at 876-4131 or Community Service Chairperson Mary Annis at 465-0820.

Information is also available at the Thompson Free Library in Dover Foxcroft where the Grange’s Award-winning Community Service Book is on display through the end of the month.

Valley Grange Plans Open House Celebration

Guilford Maine–April 2011 has been declared as “Grange Month,” and the Valley Grange is inviting community members to learn more about our purpose, as well as our programs and activities. In addition, we will acknowledge the good works of a community citizen by presenting an outstanding individual with the “Grange Community Citizen Award.”

The annual open house and award ceremony will take place on April 15, 2011 starting with a community potluck supper at 6:00 PM. All members of the community are invited; bring a dish to share if you can. The awards ceremony will begin at 7:30 PM.  The Grange Hall is located at the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road in Guilford.

For over 140 years, the Grange has worked to advance the interest of rural Americans by providing a legislative voice for their political concerns and by showing them how to strengthen their neighborhoods through community service,” Valley Grange Master Jim Annis said in announcing he program. “During Grange Month, we want our community to know that the Grange is a living organization that has a lot to offer.”  Annis also admitted Grange Members are also looking forward to “showing off” the National Award they received last fall for outstanding community service. The notebook describing the award winning activities of the membership will be on display at the Guilford Memorial Library until April 15th and the Thompson Free Library in Dover Foxcroft from April 19th until the end of the month.

The Grange not only provides fun-filled and educational programs and activities for its members, it also (more…)

Good News Grange!

Pick up a copy of this week’s Piscataquis Times, Somerset Times, or Sebasticook Valley Weekly and see how good your grange is doing! Thanks to Grace Lommel’s “investigative reporting” you’ll discover that a survey of local granges in Piscataquis and Somerset Counties revealed “there’s more good news than bad.”

State of the Grange in Maine

Find out how the Canaan Grange got “saved at the last minute”… how Parkman Grange has more than doubled their membership…

The paper hits the stands today… and it’s free! Thanks, Grace!

Welcome, Vic and Cheryl

Cheryl and Vic Morin

Say “Hi” to Valley Grange’s newest members, Vic and Cheryl… voted in and “obligated” (inducted) as Valley Grange members at our October Meeting… a process that typically takes place over several meetings. We actually threatened to make them officers at the same time was well!

From Abbot, the Morins are best known in the area for their commitment to suicide prevention through the JD Foundation which they formed in memory of William Jody Day who passed away on November 18,2005 by suicide. Vic and Cheryl have been “almost members” for some time and it’s great to make it official! We’ve appreciated their help with our Wicked Huge Yard Sale and their support with other projects too.  Welcome, Grangers!