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Rhode Island: Howard Paster awarded Granger of Year

By Patricia Ann Chaffee, Westerly Sun (6/13/11)

  JUNE 21, 2011 --

Howard Paster has been involved with various Granges in Connecticut and Rhode Island for more than 40 years. He was recently honored as Granger of the Year at Rhode Island's Slocum Grange's Annual Awards ceremony on May 27.

Paster has been doing community service all his life in one way or another. He grew up in Norwich, Conn., and spent 30 years in the military, 23 years in the Navy and seven in the Army National Guard.

His first involvement with Granges began in Stonington, Conn. He moved to Rhode Island when he was married and has been with Slocum Grange for the past 10 to 15 years. He has served Granges in most positions including secretary, six years as Master, and currently serves as overseer of the Slocum Grange.

He enjoys doing communications and publicity work and has served as the state Grange information and publicity director "off and on" for 20 years. Continuing his penchant for publicity, Paster does all the Slocum Grange communications work, as well as publicity for St. Andrew Episcopal Church in Charlestown.

His wife, Carole Paster, was also honored for 50 years of service. She recruits Howard to do publicity for her TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) program as well.

"My wife keeps me pretty busy," says Paster. And although he has no particular training in writing press releases, he says, "I guess I have a knack for it."

Although he likes watching sports, Paster's hobby is doing Grange work.

"It is a very active organization, doing lots of community service," he says.

The Grange serves a monthly breakfast from September through May, and has a chowder booth at the Washington County Fair in Richmond.

Those efforts serve to raise money for two $500 scholarships each year. One of them is a Slocum Grange scholarship and the other is a gardening and agriculture scholarship. The awards are open to Washington County high school seniors.

Despite his "knack" for getting the word out about other celebrations and events, he didn't have a whole lot to say about his own celebration, other than that, "I was surprised."

Other individuals honored at the ceremony were firefighter Lt. Robert Patterson of North Kingstown, police officer Nick Ambrosino of North Kingstown, North Kingstown High School teacher Jerome Simmons and for their agricultural work, Timothy and Suzette Kocab of North Kingstown.

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