Cliff and Jacqui England's children spent months preparing to honor their parents - secretly gathering information that would later be used in public forum.
The Englands were honored last week as the Calvert Grange Citizens of the Year. The award is given each December to "deserving people who have positively impacted the community."
The Englands were honored by two of their six children on behalf of the grange. One son is deceased and some of the couple's 13 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren were in attendance for the presentation.
Cliff England was born in 1937 and attended local schools before graduating from Rising Sun High. He served in the U.S. Air Force, attended several colleges, and was a dairy farmer from 1958-1972. In 1972 the family moved to Oakland so Cliff could become a Forest Ranger. The job had him transferred a few times before the family came back to Elk Neck. Cliff was supervisor at Elk Neck State Forest until 1996.
His volunteer duties include Cecil County Fair, Fair Hill Hunt, Apple Butter Festival, Cecil County Farm Museum, Cecil Ag Advisory Board, Southern State Cooperative Dealer, Sheep Grower's Association, and he continues to serve as president of the Board for Rosebank Cemetery. At Grace Bible Chapel he has been a deacon, building and maintenance crew, mentor, and more.
"He taught us respect for others and to love God above all else," said daughter Sondra, on behalf of the family.
Cliff and Jacqui met in high school and married in 1956. She's a homemaker and helped run the family farm. She taught her children cooking, cleaning, and other life lessons. She served as a Sunday school teacher and volunteered with the Grace Bible Chapel Missions and Social Committees. She is a mentor for the Elijah school, a member of the Rising Sun High Alumni Committee, serves as an election judge.
The couple said they were very surprised to be honored. "We've done our part to keep the population in Calvert stable," joked Cliff. Jacqui agreed that they were both surprised and thankful for the award.