Fair appreciation extends to associated activities

The American Legion Post was named for Alexander Harper, whose headstone stands in the Dayville Cemetery. The post has ordered a supply of black and white MIA/POW bumper stickers (above right). The free bumper stickers are available by contacting post commander Daron Dierks at P.O. 303, Dayville, OR 97825 or calling (541) 987-2303. The Eagle/HEATHER SHEEDY

Grant County People

This weekend will be the annual Fair Appreciation dinner and Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers Super Bowl - Saturday beginning at 5 p.m for a potluck and the Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers Super Bowl at 7. Another important part of the program will be to honor sponsors, donors and volunteers who make the Grant County Fair and other events possible throughout the year.

Fair manager Carolyn Stout extends an invitation to all of the valuable volunteers who provide the necessary manpower and resources to keep things going and to the people in the community who appreciate their efforts.

These individuals are not limited only to those who work to make the Fair successful, such as gate tenders, superintendents, maintenance, committee members (some of whom attend meetings year-round), civic organizations, vendors, businesses and individuals, but also include helpers from other annual events that take place on fairgrounds premises including the ranch rodeos and equestrian events; Demolition Derby; special shows - Quilt & Art, Home and Garden, Gun & Sports; flea markets; youth skating/rollerblading; Thanksgiving Showcase; special interest groups who use the facilities for dinners/meetings; and many others. These varied activities utilize the services of numerous dedicated volunteers who do what they can to make things run as smoothly as possible. In some instances activities also benefit area businesses and service providers, therefore providing an economic boost to the community.

To Jan Bauer, the Grant County Fair Open Class Horse Show has special significance - she has been an event organizer and knows the importance of keeping this tradition going. But, like many organizations concerned about membership and involvement, realizes that there has been waning participation by contestants, the audience and volunteers. It's widely understood that there are a gambit of other activities and responsibilities that compete for everyone's time and resources.

"It is a privilege to be part of our county heritage and as a committee we always are looking forward to new faces and new opportunities to keep this alive," said Bauer. "There are so many people who come forward and give their time and energy and resources...I am in awe of their generosity," said Bauer. But she added that "It's healthy to have new enthusiasm to add to the effort" and urges more people to get involved.

Bauer acknowledges that the Horse Show memorial trophies are an intricate part of Grant County Fair tradition that strengthens the bond of our heritage and those we value from the past - long-time ranching families who have been supporting the Fair for many years. Each year memorial trophies are given in their loved ones' names.

Financial supporters are extremely important, and the crucial time, energy and moral support of the volunteers and community also are imperative for the success of Fair and fairground activities.

The Grant County Fairgrounds will once again be a lively place during the Fair Appreciation Dinner and Fiddlers Super Bowl. Come one - come all!

• • •

It was a long time coming - gratitude for a humble gesture of compassion.

An unexpected letter arrived at Dayville to repay a kindness that was extended about 70 years ago.

The letter was addressed to Daron Dierks of the Dayville American Legion, Alexander Harper Post 115 from Lawrence A. Jones of Tucson, Ariz. The letter reads as follows:

"Dear Daron,

"Just a short note to maybe help you a bit on the bumper sticker program.

"To do this I will have to relate a bit of history and the reason for my letter.

"When I was 9 years old, I had an attack of appendicitis which was almost fatal. In other words, it was acute and had broken before they operated. My dad (Arden) had been killed in a hunting accident the fall before, and here I was in the hospital - a pretty sick kid. My dad had no insurance and left my mother with little money. Mother took me to the hospital at Prairie City where they operated on me and the county ended up paying for it. As I recall, I was in the hospital for three weeks before they sent me home. While I was in the hospital recovering from the operation my mother received a check from the American Legion at Dayville for $30 to help her out. My father had not been in the service during World War I, but I have always remembered the Legion and their help to my mother.

"For this reason, please find my check for $200 enclosed to pay back the $30 given some 70 years ago, including a little interest. You can use the money as you see fit, as I do want to pay back on a favor the Legion did for my family a long time ago.

"Another note on the past. The Dayville Post was named after my stepfather's brother, Alexander Harper. My mother remarried some years after my father's death to James Harper a World War I veteran who is now buried at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

"Thanks again to the Dayville Legion Post.

Sincerely, Lawrence A. Jones."

The Alexander Harper Post 115 of the American Legion at Dayville was chartered on Nov. 9, 1923, and was named for Alexander Harper, a World War I veteran who is buried at Dayville Cemetery. Unfortunately, after the war, he took his own life. Another young soldier, Ted Glover of Dayville, was killed in action in the last hours of the war.

Alexander Harper, for whom the American Legion Post was named, was the son of Alexander Sr. and Marjory (Murchison) Harper, immigrants from Scotland who settled in the Dayville area and were involved in the sheep business. They had three children. Alexander was the oldest.

Their second son, James Harper, also was a World War I veteran. He married Florence Jones, who had three children: Lorraine (Wyllie) deceased in 2002 and buried at Dayville Cemetery, Lawrence Jones (who wrote the previous letter), and Anna May Chapman Brown, who lives in Prineville.

The Harper's younger daughter was Charlotte "Lottie" who married Norbert Mascall and resided around Dayville. The Mascalls had a daughter Marjory May McClay, who became a registered nurse and resided in Portland. (We appreciate the contribution of information provided by Dalton and Becky Stewart, Dollina Humphreys and Theda Weatherford.)

Lawrence A. Jones has remained a member of the Alexander Harper Post 115 of the American Legion for 50 years or more. Today the post retains nine members, with Dierks as commander and Wayne Adams as chaplain. A periodic newsletter is written and sent out to members by Dierks, which is how Jones heard about a bumper sticker venture. With the funds provided by Jones, Dierks has ordered a supply of black and white MIA/POW bumper stickers which signify "You Are Not Forgotten." The free bumper stickers are available by contacting Dierks at P.O. 303, Dayville, OR 97825 or calling (541) 987-2303.

The Dayville American Legion will host a meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the home of Commander Dierks, 440 Ervin St.

• • •

"No vice of the human heart is so acceptable to it as selfishness: a despot easily forgives his subjects for not loving him, provided they do not love one another. He does not ask them to assist him in governing the state; it is enough that they do not aspire to govern it themselves."- Alexis de Tocqueville.

• • •

If you have interesting tid-bits about Grant County people, contact Heather at (541) 575-0710 or e-mail heather@bluemountaineagle.com.

An evening at Trowbridge Pavilion - Sept. 27

• Dinner - 5 p.m. No charge. Meat, vegetables, potatoes, beverages and table service provided; Those attending can bring a potluck dish.

• Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers Super Bowl - 7 p.m. Admission: $5 adults; $4 seniors, youth 6-12; under 6 free.

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