2019 Monika W. Andews Creative Volunteer Leadership Award

By on February 10, 2020
Committee members Robert Westbrook (Town of Sweden), Patricia Galinski (Town of Clarkson), and Linda Ketchum (Village of Brockport), presented Don Grentzinger with the 2019 Monika W. Andrews Creative Volunteer Leadership Award. Photo by Lori Skoog

Committee members Robert Westbrook (Town of Sweden), Patricia Galinski (Town of Clarkson), and Linda Ketchum (Village of Brockport), presented Don Grentzinger with the 2019 Monika W. Andrews Creative Volunteer Leadership Award. Photo by Lori Skoog

Donald Grentzinger honored for his leadership and impact in the farming community

“I thoroughly enjoy farming!” Donald Grentzinger said.  He recalled in his high school years he “wanted to be a farmer.” He grew up on a dairy farm and would milk cows at 5 a.m. before he went to school.

His life experiences with farming have culminated in his receiving the 2019 Monika W. Andrews Creative Volunteer Leadership Award, presented by the Brockport, Clarkson, and Sweden municipalities, for his work and leadership on the Sweden Farmers Museum. He was presented the award at the February 3 meeting of the Brockport Village Board.

The award states he has “demonstrated leadership through his many years of volunteer work on the Sweden Town Farmers Museum Committee, helping to showcase the importance of farming in the community and impact it has had throughout the area’s history…” The award adds that he has helped maintain the Sweden Farmers Museum, which includes the farmhouse and barn located at the front of Lakeview Cemetery, 4988 Lake Road in the Town of Sweden.

“Don has been a part of the Farmers Museum for 15 years,” said Lori Skoog in her statement in support of the committee’s choice. The Farmers Museum wouldn’t be what it is today without Don’s input, commitment, and elbow grease. And, Don has played a large role in ensuring the Sweden Farmers Museum Harvest Festival is successfully planned.”

Don was asked, “What do you think is creative about the Farming Museum?” 

Don said he did not want to take credit for the whole project, because several people contributed. The creative part? “We took a barn that was about to fall down and put it back into some use. And we tried to accumulate the artifacts that related to the historic farming area.”

Don continued, “There is a salesman’s sample of the reaper that was made at the Morgan Foundry. And we have many items made in Brockport: an apple peeler, a bean planter, a corn sheller, 300 antique milk bottles, and an orchard sprayer that was made by Decker Hardware. There is also a horse-drawn reaper similar to the McCormick that was made by a company in Perry. A horse-drawn plow and a huge barn beam from around 1877 are also on display. All of these are also displayed annually at the Sweden Farmers Museum Harvest Fest.”

“I have known Don for decades,” Lori Skoog said in commenting on the award. Lori, and Gary Skoog live on “Skoog Farm” in the town of Sweden, operating it since 1981. She said,

For the past two years, I have worked with him on the Harvest Festival. His efforts, often working 12-hour days, had the property and building into shape and had the displays and demonstrations organized. Donny is clearly connected to the past from his life of farming and he brings much of his experience with him to be shared with others.

Don was asked for his final thoughts. “I am still trying to associate this award with something special I did to earn it,” he modestly said. “I resigned from the board the first of the year. I thought it was time to step back a little. I hope they keep it going. I will try to encourage them all I can.”

Don was asked what he will be doing now without the museum to look after. “I have a lot of projects in my own barn to work on. And, I love to go to auctions and a lot of times things follow me home,” he said with a laugh.