Ruth Underwood thought she was going to see her grandson Tyler earn a 4-H honor last Tuesday.
Instead, Underwood, 91, and her family were receiving the award. Each December, the members of the Calvert Grange honor "deserving people who have positively impacted the community".
"They didn't tell me a thing about it. It's a wonderful surprise," said Underwood, who received an Eldreth Pottery crock personalized with the award details and date.
Several members of the family have long been advocates of agriculture and farming. Ruth was raised on a dairy and crop farm. She attended secretarial school at Goldey College before marrying in 1944.
Underwood, and her husband, the late George B. Underwood, established Pioneer Valley Farm off Dr. Miller Road in 1951. They currently farm about 800 acres and raise registered Brown Swiss and Holstein cows.
The family has grown over the years. Ron and Janette currently own the farm. Jason and Kim Stumpf currently work with them managing the day to day operations. Other family members; Shirley, Mike, and Karen, Chris Stumpf, Nick, Jason, Echo, JP, Miranda, Chelsea, Mallory, John, Karen, Erika, Tyler and Ruth's sister, Lillian all have a role at the farm. Because they are a farm family, there was still work to be done at Pioneer Valley. Not in attendance, was granddaughter Mackenzie Underwood who is currently the Maryland Dairy Princess, and Kim Stumpf, who was tending the herd.
In 1967, the Underwoods were chosen as Cecil's first ever Farmers of the Year. Various members of the family are part of the Cecil County Fair and Junior Fair boards.
Ruth is also a longtime member of Zion United Methodist Church and served as church treasurer, was part of the Cecil County Women's Society and more.
Family members are also active with the state and local farm bureaus. Many of the family members have also been active in and with the 4-H.