Philomath’s local grange organization received a noteworthy national honor for the second straight year.
The National Grange, based in Washington, D.C., announced that Marys River Grange No. 685 has earned the distinction of Distinguished Grange, an honor they also received last year.
Grange Master Jay Sexton plans to attend the 153rd annual National Grange Convention in Bloomington, Minnesota, in November to accept the award in person during a special reception for the 32 community granges and four state granges to receive the honor.
“Marys River Grange has worked to become a strong supporter of our community,” Marys River Grange Treasurer Sonny Hays-Eberts said. “Community members helped us when we really needed it with replacing our roof, and we are thrilled we can repay that investment by contributing time, effort and financially to organizations such as Philomath Community Services, Ten Rivers Food Web and others. Our community is better when we all work together.”
Marys River Grange submitted for national review a recap of activities from July 2018 through June 2019, including hosting a low-cost medical clinic for farm workers, hosting several Oregon Humanities Conversation Project events, conducting a plant sale and seed swap to benefit Philomath Community Services, conducting a Harvest Festival, community game and movie nights and cleanup of an adopted stretch of Highway 34.
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“Those recognized as distinguished granges make up less than 2% of the total number of granges across our nation and are truly the best of the best,” National Grange President Betsy Huber said in a news release. “Every grange works to improve its community and educate others about agriculture and food issues, but these distinguished granges are truly heroes in their hometowns. Many of them serve some of our nation’s most rural communities and their efforts are vital in raising the quality of life for the local residents.”
Hays-Eberts said hosting the low-cost medical clinic for farm workers is fitting with the grange’s deep roots in agriculture and health. Sponsored by Gathering Together Farm, which is a grange member, and run by four to six volunteers, three of whom are also grange members, the low-cost clinic helps farm workers primarily with work injuries, but can also provide help with other medical issues.
Hays-Eberts said Marys River Grange has gained 19 new members in 2019 already, due in great part to the outreach, and “has our doors wide open” for others to join and become part of our rural community’s social fabric.
Marys River Grange meets the first Wednesday of each month, with a potluck at 6:30 p.m., and the meeting at 7 p.m. For more information about Marys River Grange, go online to marysrivergrange.org or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The grange’s Harvest Festival is coming up Oct. 19 and will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Marys River Grange Hall (24707 Grange Hall Road).