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2017 UNITS OF HONOR


Two community service organizations that are celebrating milestone anniversaries have been chosen as the Units of Honor at this year's Harvestime Parade.

The Ogle County Farm Bureau, which is marking its centennial, and Lifeline Food Pantry and Self Help Project, celebrating its 35th anniversary, will share the 2017 honors.

Leaders of both organizations were appreciative of receiving the recognition.

"We are gratified for the recognition as we celebrate our 100 years, said Farm Bureau President Brian Duncan. Its a tribute to our members who have worked so hard for agriculture and a bright future."

Lifeline Co-President Sharon Wallace said the honor came as a surprise.

"I think its nice, " she said. "I never expected it."

The Farm Bureau got its start in Ogle County at an informal meeting of several farmers and businessmen in Byron shortly before the Farmers Institute was held on Dec. 10, 1915. A temporary organization was formed.

James Carmichael, president of the Ogle County Soil Improvement Association, called a meeting on May 26, 1917 at the Ogle County Courthouse to create a permanent organization and elect its officers.

The decision was made to draft a constitution and by-laws.

Carmichael was elected president of the new organization with Frank D. Linn as vice president, C.S. Hass, secretary, and A.W. Brayton, treasurer.

Membership consisted of those who had pledged to contribute $10 per year for three years to support the organization.

The charter was signed on June 11, 1917.

"From a group of 38 men organized in 1917 to over 4,600 member families today the Farm Bureau in Ogle County has prospered," said manager Ron Kern. "It is special to realize that 100 years ago a group if individuals formed an organization to promote agriculture. A century later, we're still serving our purpose, meeting our mission, and helping farmers across Ogle County."

The Ogle County Farm Bureau is headquartered at 421 W. Pines Rd., Oregon.

Lifeline, a not-for-profit food pantry and shop on the first floor of Conover Square, 201 N. Third St. in Oregon, is totally funded through donations and manned by volunteers.

It serves residents of Oregon, Chana, and the portion of Grand Detour that lies in Ogle County.

Wallace, who has been involved almost from the start in February of 1982, said over the years the pantry has served scores of families.

It was formed, she said, to provide canned staple goods and donated clothing, as well as short-term emergency aid for the needy.

"It started with a notice in the newspaper that a meeting would be held in Oregon to see if there was sufficient need to warrant organizing help for needy persons in Ogle County," she said. "It was determined that there was."

The original articles of incorporation were signed by Eileen Gifford, Luanne O. Pickel, and James A. Allen, all of Oregon, and Patricia Nelson, Mt. Morris.

In the beginning Lifeline had no money, Wallace said, so the organizers financed it themselves.

Local churches got involved and individuals began bringing food.

Garage sales were held to raise funds, and the board decided to also sell used clothing.

The food has always been free to clients, and the clothing is sold at low prices.

The pantry was first located at the First Presbyterian Church in Oregon, and moved several times as its client base grew.

Conover Square became its headquarters about 16 years ago, and it has expanded four times there.

Currently Lifeline serves 328 to 378 people per month, and that number continues to rise.