Linda Rothwell
The September meeting of the Gardner Grange was held Sept. 8 at the Grange building on the Johnson County Fairgrounds. The potluck dinner was great as usual, with Ed and Patsy Bruns as hosts. Approximately 12 members and one guest, who became a member, attended the meeting. The organization has gained seven new members in the last year, and lost two to death.
Several members have been working on cards, a state-wide community service project for the State Grange, by making and decorating cards for soldiers.
Several members are making preparations to attend the 143rd Session of the Kansas State Grange which will be held in Wichita this year. The Gardner Grange learned that it is again in the running with all the requirements completed to be a “Distinguished Grange” at National Grange in November.  Gardner Grange secretary Lois Barber plans to attend National Grange in Ohio in November. Lois reported she has received two tickets to this banquet.
The program for the evening was a book discussion of ”The man in the Fedora,” the autobiography of Dr. A.S. Reece edited by Katie Reece Curry, Dr. Reece’s daughter.  Dr. Reece was the town’s doctor in Gardner for many years and built one of the first hospitals in the county. Several members shared personal memories of Dr. Reece.
Linda Rothwell has been working hard since just after the July 2013 meeting writing, “A History of Gardner Grange:  Celebrating American Values and Hometown Roots.”  The history book is now available. Copies were distributed to the members, and a copy will be given to the Gardner Historical Museum.
”What started out to be just another lecturer’s program has been turned into a book. It has been very much a labor of love and not something that was on my bucket list to do,” Rothwell said.
The Gardner Grange history includes stories from the early years of the organization, the struggles to keep the Grange open after the Great Depression and World War II years, the building of the Grange Hall on the fairgrounds and working with the fair association in order to get this done.
Rothwell was pleased to have one of the Grange’s newest members, Mark Taylor, serve as editor for the book.
The Gardner Grange October meeting will feature reports from those who attended State Grange.  At the November meeting, the civic organization is planning what has become an annual event, Veteran’s Appreciation night. All veterans are welcome, including members of VFW of Gardner and American Legion Post 19.
The Gardner Grange is always looking to accept new members. If you have an interest in Faith and Family Values, History, the American Flag, and good fellowship, the Grange may be for you.