With delegates, members, honored guests and visitors in attendance, Connecticut State Grange President Jody Cameron opened the 129th Annual Session of the Connecticut State Grange, held Oct. 18-20 at the Holiday Inn in Norwich. Christine Hamp, pomona of the National Grange, served as the National Grange representative and was Connecticut’s honorary guest for the session, along with her husband, Duane, who is the president of the Washington State Grange.
Peter Nystrom, mayor of Norwich, welcomed the Grange to the city.
“We really treasure our history in Norwich, as the Grange treasures their history. The Grange, with its strong foundations, can fill a void in the communities where they are thriving,” Nystrom said.
Speaking to Grange members from across the state, Cameron touched on a wide range of subjects including “Obamacare,” GMOs and the SNAP Program, as well as Grange growth and community service.
“I say it is time we, the Connecticut State Grange, take the bull by the horns and do something that will truly impact those who are most vulnerable,” Cameron said, “to develop strategies for this state Grange to be in the forefront of a wellness-based healthy living program in all communities in Connecticut.”
Delegates and session committees addressed more than 30 resolutions during the sessions, including topics such as credit card surcharges, texting while driving, elder abuse and more. Details 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.
National Grange Pomona Christine Hamp gave an inspirational talk during the convention.
“We are just temporary stewards of this organization. The Grange belongs to everybody,” she said. “Millions of Grange members precluded us. If we get this right, millions of Grange members will follow us.”
Scholarships were awarded to Victor Salazar, Katie Molodich, Meredith Milligan, James Percoski and Katie Hermonot. Liz Ryducha from Cheshire Grange was recognized with the Granger of the Year Award for her hard work and dedication.
Eleanor Provencal from the Ag in the Classroom program, was a special guest at the awards luncheon and received donations from the Connecticut State Grange and its foundation totaling $2,000 for the organization. She spoke on the importance of putting “ag accurate” books into schools.
Community Grange of the Year was awarded to Ekonk Community Grange. Pomona (county) Grange of the Year was awarded to New Haven County Pomona. Community Service Awards went to Prospect Grange and Ekonk Community Grange, with Ekonk Community Grange receiving the Community Service Best of Show Award. Connecticut Grange members performed more than 74,000 hours of community service this past year.
The agriculture committee presented two awards at the celebration banquet: the Outstanding Agriculture Professional Award to Jim Pernal and the Outstanding Young Agriculture Professional Award to Sarah Larose. The social connection committee presented a check for $750 to a representative from the Connecticut Food Bank, along with bags and boxes full of nonperishable foods.
The celebration banquet was also filled with fun and recognition, as the lecturer’s program spotlighted music from the Bennett family of Cheshire and numerous additional award winners were announced.
The 130th Annual Session of the Connecticut State Grange will be held Oct. 16-18, 2014, with the celebration banquet on Oct. 18. The location of the 2014 convention will be announced in early 2014.
For more information on the Connecticut State Grange please visit www.CTStateGrange.org.
Connecticut State Grange