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Around The Grange
Ekonk Comm. Grange salutes couple for 65+ years of service

By Norwich Bulletin (2/24/19)

  MARCH 3, 2019 --

Neil and Marlene Cook have lived their entire lives in Sterling, and they have donated more than 65 years of volunteer service to the town they love.

So it only made sense that the town give them a day back.

The Ekonk Grange hall was filled to capacity on Feb. 17 with those who came to pay respects and honor the Cooks, who started serving their town when Neil returned home from the Air Force in 1955, after four years served in the Korean War and two medals earned.

Neil Cook has served as first selectman, on the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, Water Pollution Control Authority, Transfer Station Board, Economic Development Commission and more. Marlene Cook has been on the the Library Board for many years as well as Economic Develop Commission.

Both have been active in the Sterling Republican Town Committee for more years, both have been active in Sterling Hill First Baptist Church and been in the Grange for 40 years.

Neil was an avid hunter, fisherman and trapper and a mainstay at the Sterling Beagle Club, where he helped train many dogs and men in the art of rabbit hunting.

Neil and Marlene will celebrate 69 years of marriage in July.

State Sen. Heather Somers and State Rep. Brian Lanoue co-sponsored a citation from the state General Assembly and presented the Cooks with this at the event. First Selectman Russell M. Gray, presented them with a framed certificate from the Board of Selectman said Feb. 17 will always be Neil and Marlene Cook Day in Sterling. Secretary of the Sterling Republican Town Committee, William Sebastian, presented the Cooks with a lifetime achievement plaque from the Sterling RTC.

The most crowning gift of the day was a Quilt of Valor, presented to Neil from the Grange. More than 210,000 quilts of valor have been presented to veterans since the program’s inception in 2003. The full sized, patriotic quilt Neil received was made by Carol Coffin in Florida and shipped to Ekonk for the program. Each Quilt of Valor has a label sewn into it with the name of the veteran and the quilter. The ceremony involves wrapping the veteran in the quilt, symbolic of America wrapping its arms around its veterans.

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