Ekonk Grange honors sisters with 70-year certificates
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Sterling - posted Mon., Jul. 22, 2013
Marion Emmons and Ruth Rosebrooks were honored with 70-year certificates at the Ekonk Grange in Sterling on July 21. The Community Citizens Awards program also recognized Bruce Lindberg for 55 years, and Mandy Dubay, Sandy Eggers, Mason Gray, Cindy Henry and Beverly Pepin for 25 years each.
Rosebrooks drew some laughs when she recounted her early days of grange membership. Rosebrooks is two years younger than her sister. “Marion had to wait two years for me before she could join,” Rosebrooks said. Her earliest memories include lots of time spent in the kitchen during grange meetings.
“The grange is one big family,” said Emmons, who met her husband in the grange. “People helped each other out.” That help was primarily agriculturally-centered. Farmers joined together to get better prices on commodities. They helped each other when animals got loose or harvests were due or calamity struck.
That mission has broadened over the years to support a host of community needs. “Our grange does a tremendous amount of community service,” said Susan Gray. Their fundraisers have contributed to the Jewett City veterans' home, St. Jude's Hospital, Relay for Life, and Day Kimball's Tree of Life Ceremony. The grange has also distributed dictionaries to third-graders and free books to second-graders at the Sterling Community School. “We work closely with Sterling Community School,” Gray said. “Any time they have a need, they call us and we do what we can. We haven't told them no yet.”
Though fewer farmers are members, the grange has a close relationship with the University of Connecticut. Grange members continue to receive agriculturally-pertinent information through outreach and service programs. “We call UConn and they tell us what's going on and what we need to do,” said Emmons, who still attends grange meetings.
Grange President Katie Molodich congratulated the award recipients. “These are people who have worked towards their goals,” she said. “We all need to set goals and work towards them.”
This year, Ekonk Grange gave a $200 scholarship to Megan DeRouin, who plans to study architecture on a full-tuition scholarship at Three Rivers Community College. The Ellis Tech salutatorian plans to use the money to purchase books.