A North End rancher described as a "perfect neighbor" and two Grange members who regularly volunteer their time to worthy causes were the recipients of the annual community service awards presented by the Pomona Grange at the recent Wallowa County Fair. Winning the awards were non-Grange member Chris Cunningham, Flora, and Grange members Mae Wart and Darrell Witty, both of Enterprise.
Cunningham was unable to be present at the informal awards ceremony during the Grange Day ice cream social at the fair, but was praised by Pomona Grange Master Bev Smith for his volunteer work with his church, FFA, 4-H and farm organizations.
Cunningham has been involved with the Enterprise Christian Church for 20 years, keeping busy with Sunday School classes and serving on the board of directors. Time has also been given to FFA and 4-H youth activities, and to his positions on the Farmers Service Agency board representing North End farmers.
"He is what a person would call a 'perfect neighbor'," said Smith. "Last winter there wasn't a day that Chris didn't make sure that everyone had their driveways plowed, sometimes plowing snow as late as 10 or 11 at night."
Mae Wart of Liberty Grange was recognized for her service to many organizations in Wallowa County, including VFW, Community Connection, Liberty Grange and Pomona Grange. She plays piano for nursing homes in Wallowa and Union counties, and volunteers to drive elderly people to doctor's appointments as far away as Portland.
"If there is anyone who doesn't know the meaning of the word 'no' it is Mae. She has been down and under herself, but still she's always thinking of other people," said Smith.
The second Grange service award winner is Darrell Witty, who has been an officer and all-around worker of Hurricane Creek Grange for many years, as well as Pomona Grange Master for four years. "Darrell Whitty is the guy with the big smile and a big heart to go with it," said Smith.
Witty is on the Community Connections board, a position he has held for over four years. Among other projects to his credit is promoting food drives to keep the local food bank stocked. He also serves on the Tri-Council of Community Connections and helps with the annual barn tour.