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Guilford resident Van Dyke honored with book dedication

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GUILFORD — Betty Van Dyke of Guilford was recently notified that a soon to be released book is dedicated to her. Walter Boomsma, program director of Valley Grange in Guilford and the Maine State Grange communications director, has authored the book, “Exploring Traditions–Celebrating the Grange Way of Life.” He dedicated the book to Van Dyke, calling her a “Granger Extraordinaire” and explaining the great influence she had during his “formative years” as a Grange member. “I came to appreciate both her knowledge of the Grange’s teachings and her commitment to what I later came to understand as ‘the Grange Way of Life.'”

At the height of her Grange career, Van Dyke held a number of local and state positions, including serving as the Maine State community service director. At 94, Van Dyke still keeps track of what’s going on at Valley Grange and is a strong supporter.

Boomsma Grange

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DEDICATED TO — Betty Van Dyke receives the first copy of “Exploring Traditions” from author Walter Boomsma. Boomsma, who is program director of Valley Grange in Guilford and the Maine State Grange communications director, dedicated his book to Van Dyke in honor of her influence on him as a Grange member.

Boomsma describes his latest book as serving a dual purpose, “The primary goal in writing it was to encourage exploration. The Grange is a 150-year-old organization with a strong agricultural focus and many are questioning its relevance to today’s society. I wanted to encourage people to develop a deeper understanding of what the Grange is all about — including our members. The Grange is very much about a way of life and, while farming has changed, people have not.”

He also believes people who are not familiar with the Grange will appreciate exploring the value of tradition in general since “Tradition and ritual create stability and a sense of community, especially when we understand the basis for them.”

In her forward to the book, National Grange Master Betsy Huber writes, “These essays by Walter Boomsma unpack the teachings of the Grange and relate them to today’s world and our everyday lives. He has a gift for taking the lessons from the farm and showing their relevance today, even for those whose only interaction with agriculture happens through their food and clothing choices. He understands the meaning the Grange founders intended and interprets the sometimes archaic language to reveal the principles they wanted to teach to farm families who often had no other opportunity for education. “

The book is available through a number of outlets including Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as the Grange’s National Supply Store.

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