WAKEMAN To an outsider, the "Grange" is where you go during the Huron County Fair to get a good meal.
To members, it's just called home.
Grange members gathered Monday night in Wakeman to honor one of their own, 93-year-old Arlene Knoll, who was awarded with a 75-year pin.
Knoll, who joined the now defunct Townsend Grange in 1925, has actually been a member for 82 years (a 75-year pin was as close as they could get, but nobody cared).
Knoll transferred to Wakeman when the Townsend Grange closed.
"We're making it a real special night," Grange member Hazel Ward said before Knoll arrived. "We have two people from the Fitchville Grange and three from the Lyme Grange.
"This is a surprise to her. I don't know how many phone calls I have made to her daughter (Betty Lou Roeser of Sandusky, a 42-year Grange member)."
Grange Master Roland Tkach said people like Knoll are what the Grange is all about. He said the keys to the Grange are friends, family and fun.
"I am just happy that we as a Grange could honor you," he said.
Knoll summed up her feelings in one sentence: "I do know we had many good times at the Townsend Grange."
There are four Granges in Huron County Wakeman, New London, Fitchville and Lyme. The biggest fundraiser is the fair food booth, where the Wakeman, New London and Fitchville members went through 100 dozen eggs last year selling its famous breakfast sandwiches. Anna Stegman estimated the Grange has been involved with the food booth for about 40 years.
The Wakeman Grange also is involved in a number of community services. Among the many projects are supporting the Salvation Army and Abigail Pregnancy Services. Other projects are providing dictionaries for area third graders, providing a pizza party for the winning third-grade class at Western Reserve that collected the most pop can tabs for a deaf school in Columbus, donating "self" phones to Western's speech department and obtaining school supplies.
Ward is proud of all the projects, especially the dictionaries.
"We give out more than 100 a year," she said. "Each book has their own name on it. The teachers give them assignments so they can learn how to use their new dictionaries."
Wakeman supplies dictionaries to Western Reserve, New London gives them to New London, Fitchville gives them to South Central and Lyme provides them for Lyme School in the Bellevue district.
There are four different levels of Grange involvement, the subordinate or community Grange, the Pomona or County Grange, the State Grange and the National Grange.