MOUNT VERNON – The Knox County Granges held their 63rd Annual Farm-City Dinner Monday night and handed out several awards, including the Community Service Award and Granger of the Year.
Ken Beightol was presented with the Granger of the Year award after dedicating 70 years of his life to the Grange.
Beightol served in the U.S. Air Force between 1952 and 1956 where he reached the rank of Staff Sergeant and attended radio school where he trained to become a B-29 bomber radio operator.
He then moved to Mount Vernon from New York in 1959 and he was hired in the Engineering Department at Cooper Bessemer. While there, he also worked in research and development, designed and ran a mobile emissions lab unit and completed his career in the training department. He retired in 1995.
Before he had enlisted in the military, he had joined Ross Grange #305 In 1949 at the age of 15. After he moved to Mount Vernon, he transferred his membership to Morgan Grange #829 where he has been a faithful and active member since.
As a member of the Grange, he has served as Master, Overseer, Assistant Steward and a member of the Executive Committee.
The award winner was not disclosed before the ceremony and Beightol didn’t know he was receiving it until his introduction started.
“I was flabbergasted,” Beightol said about receiving the award. “Once I heard (the presenter) talk about the service, I started to suspect something.”
HopeNow Furniture Bank received the Community Award and Executive Director Art Schaad accepted the award on its behalf.
The mission of HopeNow Furniture Bank is to provide household goods to those individuals and families of Knox County struggling to furnish their own homes due to poverty and other challenging life experiences.
Its vision is for all Knox County children and families to live in homes equipped with essential furnishings, thereby providing basic comfort, encouraging better family unity and relieving unnecessary suffering.
“We help people in this county to get back on their feet if they can’t afford to buy furniture,” Schaad said. “Maybe they had a fire or they just had a family breakup. A lot of women have been abused, so they had to move out and their belongings were destroyed or whatever the case may be. We don’t care why they need the furniture.”
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