Westbrook Grange to dedicate walking trail

By Chase Jordan

July 9, 2014

NEWTON GROVE – Along with members of Westbrook Grange, Carolyn Jernigan is looking forward to enjoying a picnic with community members and honoring families.

The Westbrook Grange July Picnic will be held Saturday, July 19 at the Westbrook Community Building, 4431 Newton Grove Highway, Newton Grove.

A path, “Westbrook Grange Walking Trail,” will be dedicated at 4:45 p.m. in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Ethridge Bass and Mr. and Mrs. Maxton Bass. It was designed by Anna Elizabeth Rose.

Their wives, Estaline and Eunice Bass, were also members of the service-based organization for close to 70 years. Eunice served as president for 20 years.

“They were the longest attending members of Westbrook Grange,” Jernigan said about the families. “They were hardworkers of the grange. They kept it going when no one was interested.”

The walking trail is one-tenth of a mile.

“Part of it is in the shade and the other half is in the sunshine,” Jernigan said. “It’s open for the public for them to come and walk.”

During a survey a few years ago, seniors indicated they would like to have a walking trail to use. Funding from a grant made it possible.

Two wooden benches were built by Matthew Phillips for walkers to enjoy the atmosphere on the trail.

Jernigan said the Grange is a grassroots organization designed to help the people in the community through service. The group has a special interest in agriculture and assists people with different backgrounds.

Currently there are more than 100 people in the local group which began in 1941. It was reorganized a few years later.

“We’ve been a stable organization since 1945,” Jernigan said .

Her husband, Lee Jernigan, is currently the president of Westbrook Grange.

“It’s great for couples who have young children and for those who are retired, looking for something to do for the community,” she stressed.

Westbrook Grange supports many individuals and organizations in the community. Some include farming antique shows at schools, assistance to Relay for Life, and monetary gifts to people who have lost their homes. Jernigan said $1,000 in scholarships was given to high school students.

The local organization is also collaborating with other Grange organizations. The project will consist of distributing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) kits to middle school students in Sampson and Cumberland counties.

“It’s really an altruistic organization and we try to help individuals,” she said.

“Grange” is a word which has an old meaning of grain, granary, farm, farmhouse or an associate of farmers.

The North Carolina State Grange was incorporated in 1875 and achieved various legislative activities such as railroad regulation. After World War I, the organization had a few setbacks. It re-organized as a result of the Great Depression, by bringing farm families together. Throughout the years, the Grange provided business training and supported education efforts. The organization was also instrumental in the development of 4-H and Future Farmers of America.

After the July 19 dedication, a picnic will begin at 5 p.m.

The meal, consisting of hotdogs and hamburgers with fixings, will be provided to those who are attending. Dessert will be home-made ice cream and brownies.

Awards will be distributed to community members during the event. Some of them will be given to emergency officials, families, churches, military personnel and educators.

For more information, contact Jernigan at 910-567-6387.

Chase Jordan can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 136. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd