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Dunn brothers reflect on milestone

ELMSDALE -- Wayne and Charlie Dunn have seen a lot of changes in the 50 years they’ve been employed as farmhands with WP Griffin Inc. in Elmsdale “Everything is big change now,” says Wayne. “Everything years ago was hard work.”

He remembers the first forklift arriving on the farm 35 years ago and how that helped reduce the heavy lifting by hand.

Wayne Dunn was 16 and his brother Charlie was 17 when they started working for Wilfred Griffin full-time on January 1, 1966. They had worked there part time prior to then. Wayne and Charlie’s father, Merrill, also worked on the farm. Charlie’s son, Cory is now employed on the farm and Charlie’s wife, Olive has also worked for the company

WP Griffin Inc. is now in the hands of Wilfred’s sons, John and Peter. Peter admits he’s learned a lot from working on the farm by riding along with Charlie and Wayne. “They’ve been here through thick and thin,” he said. “They’re respected and trusted.”

He said it was Wayne who showed him how to fill out his time cards when Peter started working on the farm. “He said, ‘you always mark a half hour for lunch and supper, but you never really stop,’” Peter chuckled.

The brothers are so much a part of the farm operation that the company had a 50th anniversary celebration planned for them Friday night.

Neither of the men has penciled in a retirement date, still very much a part of the farm operation although Wayne is currently on leave from the farm driving a truck for the Department of Transportation.

Wayne has done a lot of trucking for Griffins over the years, hauling potatoes in from as far away as Souris. Peter said he remembers travelling with Wayne as a child. Wayne would sometimes let him steer as they drove through fields gathering up bags of potatoes.

Everyone had a few acres of potatoes years ago, Wayne said, and Griffins would go to farmers fields and to their basements to pick up loads of spuds.

Charlie usually operated equipment, helping with harrowing, planting and harvesting.

The work is still from sun-up to sundown, Charlie acknowledges, but the nature of the work is different. “No lugging. That’s out,” he acknowledged.

“Years ago it was a lug-drag situation.”

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