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Grange tops in Oregon

By Illinois Valley News, Oregon (7/7/10)

  JULY 12, 2010 --

In the 23 years since Ken & Tammie Phillips joined Oregon's Illinois Valley Grange, the organization has gone from nearly shutting its doors to achieving statewide recognition for its community involvement.

This year, I.V. Grange was recognized as Oregon Grange of the Year for its work in 2009. It earned a first-place award among Oregon granges for its Community Service Yearbook, a month-by-month compendium of project reports and photographs of community service and events throughout the year.

Tammie, who has designed artwork for the I.V. Grange Josephine County Fair entries and I.V. Food Coalition poster, earned a first-place ribbon in the Oregon Grange Art & Lectures contest with a pen-and-ink drawing of a wildflower bouquet.

Also, I.V. Grange donations to food bank efforts, and net membership gain earned the group top honors.

Established in 1907, I.V. Grange was the first organized in Oregon. Currently the group has 35 members, but has had as many as 700 to 800, Ken Phillips said. The nationwide grange organization was established to provide rural communities with a voice in national affairs that affected them.

Further, the grange has served as a community center for purposes of entertainment, education and service.

Tammie Phillips, current Grange Master, said that the group has elected to be more involved with Illinois Valley High School and other community partners and youth groups.

"Last year we decided to involve the youth more, donating proceeds from breakfast to them," she said. I.V. Grange serves a country breakfast on most first, second and third Sundays; the kids are enlisted to help serve.

"We understand that we are helping the kids learn good restaurant and service skills," she said. "A lot of them come back and are involved in many activities."

The grange also offers programs for youth similar to 4-H Clubs, where through "an agricultural-rooted program" the youth learn about the responsibilities of animal care and stewardship.

"Stewardship is what Grange is," Tammie stated. "That's who we are."

Ken & Tammie are especially proud of the 2009 yearbook they compiled, which earned first place. It represented their first effort in documenting the group's activities, but they're already at work building a 2010 book.

"Of course these will go in it," Ken said, gesturing to the award certificates.



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