Marys River Grange No. 685 in Philomath received the national Distinguished Grange honor for the fifth straight year. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Receiving a national award as a “distinguished grange” is becoming a habit for the organization’s Philomath-based chapter. Marys River Grange No. 685 will receive the 2021-22 Distinguished Grange honor for the fifth straight year at a national convention this fall.

“Marys River Grange is humbled to receive this honor,” Marys River Grange President Sonny Hays-Eberts said in a press release. “For our Grange to go from almost closing in 2009 to becoming a five-time winning Distinguished Grange from 2018-22 shows the character of our members and how much they care for our grange and for Philomath. Community is the center of all we do.”

Grange members will attend the 156th annual National Grange Convention in Sparks, Nevada, in November to receive the award in person at a special reception for the 24 community granges and three State granges to receive the distinction. Around the nation, about 1,500 grange chapters are active.

“It will come as no surprise to people in the communities where these Distinguished Granges are active that they have qualified for such a select honor,” National Grange President Betsy Huber said in a press release. “While each of our 1,500 granges across America perform great feats to improve their communities, these granges are an integral piece of the fabric of their hometowns, constantly finding ways to improve the lives of their neighbors and rising to the occasion with innovative outreach.”

Hays-Eberts said the Philomath chapter has been very active, including with its support for Philomath Community Services and frequent community offerings such as dances and yoga.

“We strive to work with our community, partner with other community organizations and encourage our members to develop and use their talents to improve themselves, and our community,” he said.

Marys River Grange submitted for national review a recap of activities from July 2021 through June 2022, including “conversation projects,” support for Holiday Cheer and the Community Garden — both PCS projects — and providing space for a low-cost farm workers’ medical clinic. In recent years, Marys River Grange has continued to promote agriculture and perform community service, but has also focused on the grange principle of nonpartisanship.

Grange member and yoga instructor Laura Coen explained why she is involved with the organization.

“I walked into my first Marys River Grange meeting four years ago and asked if I could teach yoga. It was immediately approved and has been enthusiastically attended and supported by grange members ever since,” Coen said. “My children love to go to grange meetings because of the fun Juniors Program, my husband found a place to serve the community with his carpentry, handyman and management skills, and our small family farm has become a part of the local farming community through projects and events supported by Marys River Grange.”

Marys River Grange meets at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday each month at Grange Hall, which is located at 24707 Grange Hall Road, and all are welcome to attend. For more information about Marys River Grange, go online to or email