WEST MIDDLESEX — A lifetime of dedication to Pennsylvania Grange activities has brought a top honor to local granger Susan Tau.

A grange member at Hayfield Grange 88 in Crawford County since she was 5 years old, was named the 2005 “Granger of the Year” at the 133rd Annual Pennsylvania State Grange Session held in West Middlesex, Mercer County.

Tau lives in Saegertown and joined the Hayfield Grange as a “junior” member (age 5-14), then became a “subordinate” member in 1965. She has held the offices of lecturer, lady assistant steward, family activities chairperson and publicity director at Hayfield Grange. She has also been the secretary (for 25 years) and Flora at Crawford County Pomona Grange and currently is its master (president).

She is also the immediate past lecturer of the Pennsylvania State Grange.

In addition to the grange, Susan is a member of the Hickernell United Methodist Church, the Crawford County Fair Building Association and ex-officio member of Crawford County Fair Board.

In 1996, Susan was awarded both the Crawford County Pomona Grange Public Service Award and the Hayfield Granger of the Year. She also received the Crawford County Pomona “Make You Smile” Award in 2002.

Tau was nominated for the State Grange award by the master of Hayfield Grange, Ken Merritt, who said, “Susan constantly helps to increase activities and fund-raising to try new projects and activities for the community.” At one point, Merritt said that “Susan does so much for the grange that I would have to obtain a contract with a book publishing company in New York City to help with keeping up on her whereabouts. But I already have a title for the book, ‘Where Would the Grange Be Today Without Miss Susan Tau.’ ”

Frank Bizjak, executive livestock chairman and vocational agriculture teacher from Conneautville, said he once asked Susan why she is willing to put so much effort into the county fair and she replied, “I was taught to believe in community service from my family and my involvement in the grange.” (Susan’s mother, Margaret, was named the 2003 Pennsylvania State Granger of the Year.)

The Pennsylvania State Granger of the Year is named every October at the annual State Grange session. The award is given to the State Grange member who best exemplifies the grange and its motto, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

The grange is a family fraternal organization dedicated to the betterment of the American quality of life through community service, education, legislation and fellowship. The grange includes members of all ages from their time as junior grangers (ages 5-14), youth members (ages 14-24), young adults (ages 21-35) and regular community (local) members (age 14 and up). The grange represents approximately 16,000 Pennsylvanians.

It is the oldest agricultural and rural organization of its kind in the United States. The National Grange (Patrons of Husbandry), representing about 300,000 members, beginning in 1867, and the Pennsylvania State Grange was chartered in 1873.

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