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HomeIndustry NewsAmerica’s Oldest Agricultural and Rural Service Organization Elects New President

America’s Oldest Agricultural and Rural Service Organization Elects New President

At the 157th National Grange Convention, the Delegate body elected Christine “Chris” Hamp of Spokane, Washington, as the 24th President of the nation’s oldest agricultural and rural service fraternity.

“Thank you for your trust and honor in electing me as your President,” she said.

A member of Tualco and Five Mile Prairie Granges in Washington, Hamp has served as Vice President of the National Grange since 2021, Program Director/Lecturer for four years before that, and has been a National Grange officer for more than a decade.

In early 2023, Hamp retired as a chief officer in the fire service after more than 30 years in state and local government. She brings with her a strong background in leadership, team and committee management, and strategic planning.

With a strong belief in the work of the Grange and a vision for the future, Hamp said “How awesome would this country be if every community had a strong, vibrant and relevant Grange! Imagine the impact we could make when we prioritize and actively work towards enhancing the experience and value we provide to each and every member of our Granges and of the communities we serve.

Currently, Hamp is a proud member of the Board of Directors of the Quilts of Valor Foundation, which she was appointed to in 2022, after establishing a connection between the Quilts of Valor and the National Grange.

Hamp earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy and administration from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington; a Master of Public Administration degree from The George Washington University in Washington, DC; and an associate degree of technical arts in Fire Command Administration from Edmonds Community College in Edmonds, Washington.

Hamp is a proud fourth-generation Grange member. Earlier in her Grange life, Hamp was named the Washington State Outstanding Junior Granger in 1981, the Washington State Outstanding Young Granger in 1986.

Hamp and her husband Duane, a past President of the Washington State Grange, live outside Spokane, Washington.

Hamp succeeds Betsy E. Huber, who was the first woman elected to the office of National Grange President in 2015.

“I want to thank you all for the last 8 years, the best years of my life,” Huber said. “I wish Chris the very best, and I will help her however I can. Grange has been my entire life for 21 years, from being State President in Pennsylvania through National Master, but I’m still [active] in my Community Grange… and I’m not going anywhere.”

The Grange has been America’s strongest agricultural and rural interest group for more than 150 years. Looking toward the next 150 years, Hamp is interested in securing the future of the organization as caretakers of its legacy, with a focus on resilience and renewed relevance. Hamp stated that “we must continue to do our part to ensure that we are stronger tomorrow than we are today.”

Succeeding Hamp as Vice President is John Benedik, President of New Jersey State Grange.

In addition to Hamp and Benedik, six other National Grange offices saw changes. They include Lecturer/Program Director – Tom Gwin (WA); Steward – Christopher Johnston (MI); Assistant Steward – Walter Hartley (RI); Chaplain – Kay Hoffman Stiles (MD); Gatekeeper – David Allen (NC); and Pomona – Barbara Foster (WV).

Re-elected to their offices: Executive Committee – William “Buddy” Overstreet (TX) and Lynette Schaeffer; Lady Assistant Steward – Kathy Gibson (MA); Treasurer – Joseph Goodrich (VT); Secretary – Debbie Campbell (PA); Ceres – Cindy Greer (CO); and Flora – Welina Shufeldt (OK).

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