Our Officers & Directors
We believe these members to be well skilled in our work, and observant of the noble precepts of our Order, and have no doubt that they will discharge the important duties of their offices with fidelity.
Rachel Brobst was a former member of Jefferson Grange from 2009-2012 having served as Chaplain. She lives in New Ringgold with her husband and their daughters. Rachel is a pre-school teacher who enjoys creating hands-on learning opportunities for "her kids" and designing the learning space to inspire young minds. She loves art and singing, especially songs from the 60s and 70s.
The role of the president is to conduct meetings efficiently and with neutrality. A large responsibility of the president when members are addressing issues is to maintain a civil environment and not allow partisanship as part of the discussion. They agree as part of their installation that they "will not take advantage of the position to bias in any way, either directly or indirectly, the political or religious opinions of any member of the Order."
"You may encounter difficulties. Overcome them, remembering that difficulties are but opportunities to test our abilities."
Connor lives in Minersville and is a student at Gillingham Charter School in Pottsville. He is an active Boy Scout looking forward to finishing requirements in order to begin his Eagle Scout project. He loves to learn and is always willing to volunteer to help others.
The vice president is a vital link in the chain of a Grange in action. This officer is charged with ensuring that which the Grange has voted to do is done in a timely fashion. As such, at Jefferson Grange, the vice president serves as an ex officio member of most committees. The vice president also steps in to run the meeting whenever the president is unavailable to do so or if the president would like to speak on a matter up for a vote of the Grange.
"Of all the sweeteners of human toil, of all the motive powers that give alacrity to the hand or foot, readiness to the will, and intelligence to the mind and purpose, the quickest and most enduring in results is the kind word spoken in season."
Amy is a ball of energy that throws herself into community work and her friendships. She is an avid Penn State fan and can be found in State College at the field for home games. She is a caregiver and community advocate, helping often with the Schuylkill Haven Community Garden, Blue Mountain Greenhouse, Pottsville Community Garden, and of course, Jefferson Grange events and projects. She is a plant enthusiast and mother of two daughters.
The Lecturer, also known as the Program Director, sees that "information for the Good of the Order [is] promptly laid before the Grange." This officer designs and presents a program of educational or entertainment value at each meeting or provides programming through other events that are open to the community at large. While this officer coordinates such activities, they need not always be the one to present the program but may instead have outside speakers or other members expert in the area lead for that period.
Finally, this officer serves as our Community Service director, helping to coordinate with other members of our Grange on our outreach. They serve as our POC to the State and National Grange in these efforts.
"Especially urge and encourage the young and the diffident to become writers, readers and speakers in Grange meetings, and thus develop and direct to greater usefulness the latent abilities of your fellow members."
Victor Barreto Rios
Victor Barreto Rios has been a member of Valley Grange #1360, in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, and a charter member of New Deal Grange #447 in Greenbelt, Maryland. He works in IT support and lives in East Brunswick Township. He is a Mexican league soccer fan and an animal lover. You can find him many nights walking his three dogs at the trail by the Blue Mountain Elementary East/Middle School complex.
The Steward holds an especially important position, one that requires foresight and creativity in seeing the talents of members and encouraging them to their fullest potential. At Jefferson Grange, our Steward, in conjunction with the President, identifies members for committees and encourages formal and informal mentoring experiences. This officer is also charged with securing a location for meetings and events and helping to smooth any tensions and ensure the Grange operates without strife, especially among members by encouraging active listening and fellowship.
"Your duty in the Grange is to learn the qualifications of new [members], then assign them their proper places, and set them to work. It requires good judgment on your part. You are also to see that each one is suitably rewarded for his/[her] labor."
Jamie is a CAD technologist with Alfred Benesch & Co. by day and active volunteer by night. He recently became a member of the Orwigsburg Fire Company, and he revived the Fisher's Dam Children's Fishing Rodeo in Orwigsburg in 2021. He and his wife have three children, all in the youth/young adult age range.
The Assistant Steward of Jefferson Grange will serve as the director of our Youth (14-22) and Young Adult Program (23-35), ensuring they have a variety of opportunities to make a difference in their communities, for their peers, and grow in the process of doing.
Along with the Junior Assistant Steward, these officers will assist with member and guest recognition and special events.
Abigail "Abbie" Konkus
Junior Assistant Steward
Abby is a Sophomore at Blue Mountain High School and is interested in going into early childhood development/childcare after graduation. She is a member of the marching band and has volunteered at Hillside SPCA. She is creative and loves expressing herself through various art projects. She is a third-generation Grange member that lives in New Ringgold and Cressona.
The Junior Assistant Steward of Jefferson Grange will serve as the director of our Junior program for children ages 5-13. They will ensure our youngest members have ample opportunity to learn and grow, encourage them to learn about the needs of our community and their peers that are meaningful to them and carry out service projects.
Barbara "Babs" Malewski
Babs worked as a health professional for many years. She serves as a member of the volunteer board of the Suicide Prevention Task Force of Schuylkill County. She lives in Orwigsburg.
During Grange meetings and events, the Chaplain offers a nonsectarian prayer or inspirational reflection and provides comfort to members and those in our community who find themselves in time of need.
Lindsay is a proud daughter of Schuylkill County. She is often found at local events, enjoying all the area has to offer. She lives with her son, Connor and husband, Seth, in Minersville. She works for Evans Delivery Company in Schuylkill Haven after many years with Hillside SPCA.
The treasurer provides a monthly update on the financial matters of Jefferson Grange #1384 and ensures the dues are collected promptly, recorded and portions due the State and National Grange are remitted.
Amanda Brozana Rios
The first Grange Amanda Brozana Rios joined was Jefferson Grange #1384 in 2010. Since then, she has been a member of various Granges nearby where she has lived, including Potomac Grange #1, Washington, D.C., New Deal Grange #447, Greenbelt, Maryland; and Valley Grange #1360, in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania. She works for the National Grange as Membership, Leadership Development Director and was elected as National Grange Lecturer, serving from 2015-16. She lives in East Brunswick Township.
The secretary of Jefferson Grange #1384 will take minutes at all regular meetings of the Grange and ensure they are provided for dissemination to the membership within a few days after the meeting has closed. These minutes are the history of our work and proof when necessary to financial institutions, the State Grange and other entities. This officer also ensures all members have access to information provided by the State and National Grange and any other relevant bodies. Finally, the Secretary maintains our website and sends our e-newsletter, liaises with local partners and ensures new member applications are forwarded to the membership for review and to the State Grange once approved.
Barbara "Barb" Peters
Barb is a cheerful volunteer who spends most of her week helping at the Schuylkill Haven Senior Center with a variety of programs. She is active in her church and is an advocate of the various resources available to individuals in our community who face food insecurity. She lives in Pottsville.
The Greeter welcomes guests to our meetings and introduces them to our membership. When persons of honor are in attendance, the Greeter informs the President so they may be recognized. This officer, having the distinction of being the one to make a first impression for our Grange, also serves as our membership director.
Civic Engagement Director
Torie is a Senior at Blue Mountain High School. She is an honor student who also participates in several extracurricular activities and sports including band and softball. She is a third-generation Grange member who looks forward to going to college and then hopes to serve as an officer in the US Air Force. She was the 2022 recipient of the Lehigh Valley West Point Society's Dwight D. Eisenhower Award, recognizing her for "outstanding leadership and character." She has coordinated several Quilts of Valor presentations for our Grange to honor local veterans and was the primary author of an op-ed submitted by the Grange that was published in the Republican-Herald commending students who stood up for seniors in 2021 who sought to wear military stoles for graduation. She is a third-generation Grange member who lives in New Ringgold and Cressona.
Our Civic Engagement Director presents the flag at all official Grange events and leads our membership in activities related to an informed and engaged citizenship. This officer encourages patriotism, honoring service members and veterans, and members' involvement in advocacy and the democratic process.
When the Grange was founded, the offices of Ceres, Pomona and Flora were created to honor various parts of agriculture. These officers were charged with helping to refine the work of our meetings and serve as a symbol of our respect for women, who have been given equal voice and vote in the organization since its inception. As a way to honor this history, the Civic Engagement Director was established, a nod to the role of Ceres who was the flag-bearer. This officer also performs the functions of Legislative Director for our Grange.
Food and Agriculture Director
Hannah is a Freshman at Penn State University in State College, majoring in agriculture marketing. She is also a member of Penns Valley Grange in Centre County. She founded the Schuylkill Haven Community Garden, restarted the Blue Mountain High School greenhouse and founded the 4-H Eagles Nest Club while in high school. She worked with VISION of Schuylkill County and is now interning with Honey Brook Farms thanks to her connection with the Grange, to assist with marketing and social media management. She was a Borlaug Scholar and recipient of the 2021 Young Woman of Conservation Leadership award from PennFuture.
Our Food and Agriculture Director helps to link our present and past. The Grange, founded as a fraternity for farm families, has always had at its core an interest in agriculture. Today this interest is for both the producer and consumer sides. At Jefferson Grange, this officer helps to promote a greater understanding of our local food system and encourages us to support or grow food security programs in our community. They also help to coordinate potlucks and refreshments among our membership at meetings and events.
This directorship honors the original ceremonial office of Pomona, one which promoted growth and improvement with a keen eye to the cultivation of fruits and vegetables.
Marybeth "Beth" Southworth
Personal Development and Family Activities Director
Marybeth is a world traveler, avid quilter and dedicated volunteer who loves to take advantage of all life has to offer. She has attended a number of Grange activities since joining in 2021 that have fueled her passion for the organization, including the Eastern Regional Conference in 2022 and PA Family Festival with her grandsons. She was selected for the competitive Communication Fellows Program at the 156th Annual National Grange Convention in Sparks, Nevada, and is excited to bring more opportunities back along with skills to help our members grow to their greatest potential. She lives in Lake Wynonah.
Our Personal Development and Family Activities Director seeks to introduce members to various life skills, home management and handicrafts that can provide members with knowledge to encourage personal sustainability and possible creative outlets.
As a nod to the traditional office of Flora, whose job it was to encourage members to maintain personal tranquility and a cheerful home, this director works to provide knowledge that will improve our members' homes and lives. This office also performs the functions of Family Activities Director for our Grange.
At Jefferson Grange #1384, this officer, along with the Advocacy and Citizenship Director and the Food and Agriculture Director, consistently allow us to fulfill one of our core objectives: to build a more sustainable and resilient membership and community.
Executive Committe (at large)
Josiah Meck is a farm boy through and through. He is a true artist with wood, creating at his home lumber mill and woodshop stunning cutting boards, cups and more out of different hard and soft varieties found throughout the Commonwealth. He has been featured in the online publication VoyagePhoenix and sells his creations online and at local craft fairs. He is married to Angela and the couple owns Honey Brook Farms located just outside of Schuylkill Haven. They have three young children who enjoy Junior and PJ Club activities with the Grange.
Executive Committe (at large)
Barbara lives in Friedensburg and is blissfully retired after more than 30 years as a quality control specialist in a plastic films plant. She is a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and an as-often-as-able blood donor. She is the wife of Ross, mother of three grown children, Amanda, Tyler (USAF) and Justin (USMC), and grandmother of Genevieve.
The Jefferson Grange #1384 Executive Committee includes two at large members not holding another office in the Grange, in addition to the President, Vice President and Treasurer. This committee may act only in times of emergency between meetings of the Grange.