02/24/10 — Massey honored for years of work, support of local, state, national Granges

View Archive

Massey honored for years of work, support of local, state, national Granges

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 24, 2010 1:46 PM

DUDLEY -- Lloyd Massey was praised Tuesday night as a mainstay of the local, state and national Grange organizations and whose legacy will help keep that organization going.

State Grange President Jimmy Gentry of Statesville was as at the Brogden Grange's meeting at Dudley Christian Church to make a special presentation to Massey who served as Grange officer on the local, state and national levels.

Massey, a former president of the state Grange, has been a member of the Brogden Grange since 1937.

"It is always good to come to Brogden and I have something special that I want to do this evening," Gentry said.

Gentry attended the national Grange convention in November when a new pin was presented to former national officers. Massey, who will celebrate his 94th birthday March 11, was unable to attend.

"This was a first-time special ceremony that they did to recognize those who were able to come to the convention," Gentry said. "Since Mr. Massey was unable to attend the convention I just wanted to come here and present it to him here among his friends. It is just even more special to come to the Brogden Grange and in front of his friends, relatives and peers present him the pin here

"Mr. Massey has been a mainstay of the Grange organization for many years. He not only served as a national officer, but he is a previous state president of the North Carolina Grange. We all just love him and respect him and it was such a pleasure for me to be able to come down here tonight to present him with this past national officers pin."

Gentry gave the pin to Massey's wife, Elizabeth, who pinned it to his lapel.

Commenting after the meeting, Gentry said the Grange is "tremendously important."

"The Grange is an agricultural organization, but we also are involved in community service and other issues and activities that rural North Carolina is interested in," he said. "It is awfully important to be able to provide a voice for agriculture and rural citizens of North Carolina because we are a lobbying group as well.

"That voice, we feel like, is still very important. There are fewer and fewer organizations to speak for agriculture today. We are glad to be one of those organizations that can still do that.

Membership continues to be a challenge, he said.

"We are holding our own now. We are not as large as we were many years ago, but that is something we work on constantly is an effort to keep our membership up," he said.

"Brogden Grange was organized in this community," said Brogden Grange President Jimmy Martin. "One time it was 135 members strong. Like he (Massey) said it has gone down and come up again and gone down and come up."

Martin said had tended Massey's land when he was farming.

"I kind of grew close to him and learned a little bit about the Grange," he said. "I was never a member of the Grange. My dad was a member of the Grange, but not an active member. When he (Massey) told me told me about the Grange going down and him wanting to keep it going and how much it meant to him, I said, 'look I will help if I can.'

"A lot of us came together. My goal is to do things to bring attention to the Dudley community."

Martin recalled how years ago that the late Jessie Stanley helped organize a Christmas parade in the community and Dudley was well known for that event.

"I'd love to see activities that would keep the young people involved and to keep people around to help Dudley grow and be a little better," Martin said. "That is what the Grange is all about."

The Grange helped bring about rural electrification, roads and telephone service, he said.

"Anything that the rural community didn't have that the urbans had, that is what the Grange helped develop many years ago," he said. "Their footprint is well known among the Grange members of what they have been able to do. But you talk to some people today and say you are going to have a Grange meeting tonight and they really don't know what that is. But it is just a grassroots organization that wants to promote family and community activities and that is what we are after here."