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Community Service and Grange Growth highlight 127th Connecticut State Grange Convention

By Terri Fassio, Public Relations Co-Director

  OCTOBER 24, 2011 --

The 2011 Convention of the Connecticut State Grange featured many highlights, including awards, scholarships, donations, and a renewed dedication and commitment to Grange community service projects, membership and growth.

With delegates, members, honored guests and visitors in attendance, Connecticut State Grange President Jody Cameron opened the 127th Annual Session of the Connecticut State Grange, held from October 20 through October 22, at the Hartford Plaza Hotel in East Hartford.  Ed Luttrell, President of the National Grange served as the National Grange Representative and was Connecticut's honorary guest for the Session. 

Marcia Leclerc, the Mayor of East Hartford, welcomed the Grange to the city. "The Grange in the very simplest form is a strong fraternal organization," she said.  "The vey core of what the Grange stands for is often missing from not only the state but local communities.  The Grange can fill these voids in the communities where they are thriving."

Speaking to Grange members from across the state in his address as State Grange President, Cameron touched on a wide range of subjects including the Grange growth program and community service. 

"Each of us has the ability and influence to grow our Granges; the power you hold in that responsibility ensures a rich future for your Grange and your community,"  Cameron said. "Membership Growth is just the first part of our Grange Growth process. " 

Delegates and Session Committees addressed over 50 resolutions during the sessions, on such topics Connecticut rest areas, social security, energy production, military pay and handicapped parking.  Details and results of these resolutions are available on the Connecticut State Grange website, and will also be available in the Connecticut State Grange Journal of Proceedings, to be published this winter.

Awards and recognitions played a large role throughout the convention, during both the Awards luncheon and the Youth/Junior luncheon, as well as the Celebration Banquet.  Scholarships were awarded to Victor Salazar, Shelley St. Jean, Meredith Milligan, and Jacqueline Garland.  

Community Grange of the Year was awarded to both Lyme Grange and Oxford Grange.  Pomona (county) Grange of the Year was awarded to Mountain County Pomona No. 4 (Litchfield County).  Norfield Grange received the award for most new members, with 18.  Community Service awards went to Prospect Grange and Ekonk Community Grange, with Ekonk Community Grange receiving the Community Service Best of Show award.  Over 82,000 hours of Community Service were donated by Grange members in Connecticut over the past year.

The Celebration Banquet was also filled with fun and recognition, as the Lecturer's program spotlighted old-fashioned skits, Beatles music, and numerous additional award winners announced.  Sue Gray from Ekonk Community Grange was recognized with the Granger of the Year award for her hard work and dedication.  North Stonington Grange was the winner of the Complete Program contest, and Robert Buck from Bethlehem Grange was the winner of the Grange essay contest.   

The Agriculture Committee presented two awards - the Outstanding Production Award to John Bourdeau of Lyme, and the Outstanding Young Farmer award to Ethan Jordan from Ekonk Community Grange in Sterling. 

National Grange President Ed Luttrell spoke at the closing of the Celebration Banquet.  "We have so much to look forward to," he said.  "This is the year we're going to make a difference. The Grange is growing. I believe the Grange will be here in 100 years."

The 128th Annual Session of the Connecticut State Grange will be held October 18 - 20, 2012, with the Celebration Banquet on October 20.  The location of this next convention will be announced in early 2012.

About the Connecticut State Grange: The Connecticut State Grange has been an integral part of rural and non-rural communities across the state for over 125 years, with currently nearly 60 Community Grange chapters in Connecticut. Local Granges are committed to bettering their communities through service projects and family orientated activities.

For more information on the Connecticut State Grange please visit www.CTStateGrange.org.

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