LEBANON, Ill. — Lynette Schaeffer was elected to serve as chairman of the National Grange Executive Committee at the 155th annual National Grange convention at Wichita, Kansas.
She has serve on the committee since 2017 and is the president of the Illinois State Grange.
“I am thrilled to have this opportunity and thankful to have the respect of my fellow committee members to service in this position,” Schaeffer said.
“The upcoming year will be filled with opportunities to improve and grow the Grange. I look forward to working with all Grangers across the country to enhance the programs and prospects for the future.”
Schaeffer is part of the first majority-female leadership team of the National Grange, though the organization has since its founding in 1867 allowed women equal voice, vote and opportunity to hold any office.
Betsy Huber of Chester County, Pennsylvania, the organization’s first female president, who was elected in 2015, was reelected at the recent 155th convention. Christine Hamp, Spokane, Washington, area, was elected vice president.
Susan Noah, Oregon State Grange president, was reelected to the Executive Committee, and Ann Bercher, Minnesota State Grange president, was elected National Lecturer, which is the organization’s program director and the third office in the Grange’s leadership chain.
Legacy Of Leadership
Schaeffer, a member of a five-generation Grange family, has a long legacy of leadership in the Grange. Prior to being elected Illinois State Grange president in 2013, she held directorships at the state level including junior director, historian and secretary.
She has also served in a number of roles at the junior, local and regional Grange levels.
Schaeffer originally joined the Floraville Community Junior Grange in 1960 and then, at 14, joined Floraville Community Grange.
When she married her husband, Don, she also joined Shiloh Valley Grange where both of their families had started their Grange journey many years before.
She said both her grandparents and Don’s joined Shiloh Valley Grange on the same night, one meeting after the charter application was signed.
The couple is active in farming, raising cattle, corn, soybeans and alfalfa. They have two children and five grandchildren.
Schaeffer serves on the O’Fallon Township Planning Commission, which reviews zoning changes in the township, and works part-time at the O’Fallon United Church of Christ as a business manager.
She is active at the church, as well, playing in the bell group and as part of the “stream team,” which creates live webcasts of church services so all members can attend virtually.
She retired in 2020 after 32 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture where she provided computer support for nine counties in Southern Illinois through USDA-Office of Chief Information Officer-Client Technology Services.
Founded in 1867, the Grange is a fraternal, nonpartisan organization with about 135,000 members across the nation in about 1,500 local chapters. Open to anyone age 14 and older interested in agriculture, rural concerns or bettering their community, the Grange never endorses candidates, but works on issues made policy of the organization through a grassroots vetting process.
Grange members provide millions of hours of service and dollars in donations annually based on the needs identified in their local communities. From providing dictionaries to third-grade students often unserved or underserved by broadband internet, to hosting candidate forums to providing handmade caps for newborns, Grange members find ways to improve the lives of their neighbors both in service and through advocacy efforts.