Junior Altruistic Club: A Legacy of Service in Olney
If you’re altruistic, you’re unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others--This is indeed true when it comes to the ladies in Olney’s Jr. Altruistic Club. Since its inception in 1926, Jr. Altruistic members have unselfishly volunteered their time and resources to make Olney a stronger community.
There was an article in the 1933 edition of Olney Enterprise on “The Woman’s Page” titled “Junior Altruistic Club Presents Lexie Dean Robertson [Texas Poet] at Tea.” The article stated that the guests were welcomed to the Rotary room inside City Hall by Mrs. Raymond Lunn, the president of the Jr. Altruistic Club at the time. Lunn was quoted saying, “Life is filled with sorrows, monotony and joys, and one of the greatest of joys is in having a friend and being a friend. Our club is glad to pause for a few hours to extend a smile, the handclasp of friendship and a cup of tea to express with Grace Coolidge the idea that is hastening on with eager intent, we arrive at the rainbow’s end and there uncover the pot of gold, buried deep in the heart of a friend.”
The 1933 quote provides an expanded insight into the intentions of the Jr. Altruistic Club. The ladies reach beyond volunteerism and delve into building relationships and sharing information to strengthen the community. Many of us have heard the phrase, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” Considering the group’s record of noteworthy projects, Olney residents can boast, “Behind every great town is a great group of women.
A few years ago, a Revitalize Olney Committee was formed within the club. In time, the vision of the committee outgrew the club membership’s capabilities and so the Keep Olney Beautiful board was formed. The club remains partners with KOB and keeps two members serving on the KOB board. Through the years Jr. Altruistic Club became a steady club that was once nationwide and now is unique to Olney.
The mission of the club is the promotion of volunteerism and improving the
(Front Row-Left to Right): Julie Stewart, Barbara Calvin, Minnie Wood, Gaylynn McClelland;
(Second Row-Left to Right): Jennifer, Lane, Julie
Campbell, Trudy Capps, Tammy Montgomery, Valorie Mahler, Jan Tyler; See page 6 for members not pictured.
photo by william sadler community. In addition to community service, the club allows the ladies to bond. Julie Stewart said, “It is good to be with other women of all ages with common interests, and it’s fun to have that association.”
Club President Jan Tyler piggy-backed on Stewart’s comment, “We don’t just meet for our program. We are doers. I think we all want to do something. We get out in the community and tackle projects.”
Stewart added, “We take on a lot of projects. Once or twice a year, we try to do something fun within the group.”
The project they are most proud of is the Tommy Perkins Park, but the day of roses ranks at the top of the long list of projects. Tyler reminisced, “The day of the roses was spectacular! In March that year, we took delivery of $8000 worth of donated Knockout Rose bushes in the midst of the drought. We had to haul five-gallon buckets of water downtown.” They pulled together to finish the project.
The next project is the geranium fundraiser, and orders must be placed with any Jr. Altruistic member by April 1.
Club Members: Sherry Altmiller, Barbara Calvin, Julie Campbell, Trudy Capps, Karen Craig, Julie Hinson, Connie Horany, Trina Johnson, Jennifer Lane, Gay Lynn McClelland, Valorie Mahler, Cathy Marion, Tammy Montgomery, Melody Rogers, Julie Stewart, Jan Tyler and Minnie Wood.
There will be a limited number of geraniums for sale at the downtown gazebo at 10 a.m. on the pickup day, April 3. Delivery is also an option. Smith’s Gardentown grown red geraniums in 6-inch pots cost $8. Also, Modern Woodmen of America will provide matching funds for the money raised. Proceeds will benefit several local projects the club is involved with including, but not limited to: Keep Olney Beautiful, Tommy Perkins Park upkeep and Toys for Tots.
Tyler said at the end of the year, they distribute all money raised throughout the year. “Every dollar raised is given away [to fund] our wonderful history of projects such as the library, the park, Angel Trees and the Keep Olney Beautiful Campaign (KOB).
Trudy Capps said, “Jr. Altruistic has an interesting history. Some of the ladies in the club have had mothers, mothers-in-law and grandmothers that were in the club. It is a legacy.”