WASHINGTON — Millers, Washington colleagues and relatives gathered May 5 at a reception honoring Elizabeth A. (Betsy) Faga upon her retirement as president of the North American Millers’ Association. The gathering came a month to the day after Ms. Faga’s official retirement. She was succeeded as president by Mary K. Waters but will continue with NAMA for a period of time in a transitional role.

The celebration, attended by over 100, coincided with the NAMA spring leadership meeting. Present in addition to the group’s board members were colleagues from representatives both of Washington trade associations and individual company representatives who have dealt with NAMA and Ms. Faga over the years.

Family members present included her brother Marty Faga and his wife, Barbara; and a nephew Scott Faga and his two children, Patrick and Rachel Faga.

Representative Jerry Moran of Kansas and John Gillcrist of Bartlett Milling presented to Ms. Faga a U.S. flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol, in recognition of her retirement from the milling industry after 40 years.

The flag presentation included a plaque from NAMA that read, “Presented to Betsy Faga. For your many years of untiring service and leadership to the milling industry. Your loyalty and friendship will be long remembered. You inspired us all. Congratulations on your retirement. North American Millers’ Association. May 5, 2010.”

Greg Schlafer of General Mills, Inc., a member of the NAMA board, presented Ms. Faga with a box of Wheaties featuring a photograph of Ms. Faga.

Speaking with Milling & Baking News after the reception, Ms. Faga said she was caught off guard since a more formal retirement celebration was planned for the October annual meeting.

“I was totally shocked with Congressman Moran and John Gillcrist’s presentation of the flag and the Wheaties box,” she said. “It took my breath away.”

Ms. Faga said she was gratified to have the chance to tell her colleagues that she valued the opportunity to work with them over her many years in the industry.

“It was just wonderful having members, my colleagues and my family together in one room and being able to say to them how important all of them were in my 40-year career,” Ms. Faga said. “Many of the people there went back 20, 30, 35 years. There were long-term colleagues and some newer ones. What I found over the years is that the agricultural community is indeed unique because of the wonderful people who make up this community.”