401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

96 years and counting!

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Photos by Annette Brand Earlier this summer members and guests of the Orchard City Women's Club gathered under the town park pavilion to fill plates from a richly laden picnic table at the annual June potluck picnic. The organization has a long and rich

Women, and several husbands, continued the legacy of Orchard City Women's Club's first Friday of the month meeting on Friday, Sept. 7.

They met in the community room of Orchard City Town Hall where speaker Jason Cleckler, CEO of Delta County Memorial Hospital, talked with his audience about new services and new staffing at DCMH, and nationwide recognition the hospital has received over the past three years. He spoke about new collaborative agreements with other hospitals which will insure availability of a wide range of specialized services to each hospital's community.Cleckler's audience was attentive to all the information he provided and engaged in a lively discussion after his presentations, asking questions about specific needs, and giving compliments about personal experiences at DCMH and expressing appreciation for staff, services and Cleckler's leadership of DCMH.

After Mr. Cleckler left, those present gathered at the refreshment table and enjoyed delightful treats prepared by members of the OCWC.

President Jan Gage conducted the business meeting following refreshments.

The current OCWC has around 45 members. Some of the women can trace their family connections to Orchard City back five and six generations. Some recently moved in or around Orchard City.

OCWC gathers for regular meetings -- first Friday -- at the Orchard City Town Hall, which has displayed on its walls photos and plaques relating to the history of Orchard City. Among the plaques is one for OCWC. There is a lot to learn about the history of the area on the walls of town hall. And there are small replicas of school buildings where Orchard City children once attended.

For regular meetings OCWC usually has a speaker. Sheriff Fred McKee has spoken to the group. And they have had presentations from the Surface Creek Ambulance District, HopeWest, and a speaker talking about long-term health insurance.

There are four special meetings each year. There is a summer picnic in June and husbands are invited and attend this meeting.

There is an auction in the summertime, a fundraiser. Jan Gage said, "We all clean out our closets, attics and basements, and then we buy each other's stuff." The public buys a lot of the stuff, also.

The OCWC also uses the auction as an opportunity to encourage those coming to the auction to bring items for Friends of Cedaredge Animal Control: paper towels, bleach, a specified dog food, a specified cat food, non-clumping litter, cleaning supplies, Dawn soap, detergent, hand towels. Some of the OCWC members quilt beds for dogs and cats.

OCWC holds a Thanksgiving dinner, on the first Friday of November, with turkey and all the trimmings, at Eckert Presbyterian Church in Hunsicker Hall. Husbands and guests are invited to this special dinner.

At Christmas all the members meet at a restaurant for dinner and exchange small gifts.

OCWC reaches out to several organizations to help meet their needs. The members prepared Christmas gifts for youngsters at House of Promise; made quilts for the Valor for Veterans program; and contributed to HopeWest and the Shelter Shoppe in Cedaredge. They collect and donate books to Horizons Nursing Home, Crossroads, Willow Tree, Cedaredge Library, and add books to the small sidewalk libraries in residential areas.

Anyone wishing additional information about OCWC is invited to call Nome Boyd, OCWC secretary, at 835-3097.

OCWC through the years: In April 2002 Verna Barr, DCI staff writer, wrote a Back Page entitled Orchard City Women's Club: 89 Years of Doing!"

The following are excerpts from that feature story.

Initially a group of women from Austin, Eckert and Cory met as an embroidery club. Those women decided to do more.

The minutes from April 1922 note, "30 ladies met at the home of Mrs. Will Grow of Cory to form Orchard City Women's Club with the aim to broaden culture and to improve civic and community welfare."

Within the first year they formed a committee to visit the sick, started a scholarship fund, collected and delivered canned fruit to the Delta hospital, started a "penny march" for a flower fund, and held a box-social fund raiser, "to provide a drinking fountain erected in Austin in memory of the soldier boys of the community."

Signs of the times: In 1926 Icilers refrigerators were demonstrated by the Delta County Extension Service -- in 1927 some of the members attended a Singer sewing machine demonstration -- members learned about Certo for jam and jelly making in 1928.

We're talking depression years here. The club provided funds to purchase food and coal to needy families. They purchased fabric and made gowns and pillowcases and bought sheets, pillowcases, bath towels, washcloths, and hot water bottles for the Delta hospital. Members backed a school hot lunch program beginning in 1925.

The 1940s brought a change at club meetings, as it did across the nation. ... Women knitted army sweaters. Twelve soldier kits were sent to Camp Hale. Cigarettes and stationary were collected and sent to local boys serving in the armed forces. When thank you notes were read, members noted that some letters had been censored.

In the late '40s the club was concentrating on supporting local causes again. They helped support a Cub Scout Pack, a Boy Scout troop, donated to the Cedaredge Fire department, made more pillow cases and gowns for the hospital.

Other programs were: "Aims and Purpose of Civil Defense in This Area," "The History of the Telephone in Delta County," including the introduction of the Eckert Co-op Telephone Exchange, and "Colorado Women," such as Baby Doe, Silver Heels and Chipeta were portrayed by members for another educational entertaining program.

1955 was the first year that Miriam Hartig led members in a "door-to-door" campaign soliciting for the American Cancer Society. That year the women raised $108.34 in Austin, Cory Mesa, and Tongue Creek. The project grew and grew, raising thousands of dollars over the years. Their final campaign in 1995 brought $1,865.75 with an additional $1,408.00 collected by volunteers in Cedaredge.

$1,000.00 from the sale of Mound school clubhouse was placed in savings at National Bank of Delta at 4 percent interest in 1964. Taken out to purchase a CD in 1974, the money was now drawing 7.5 percent interest. Adjustments were made again when that interest rate rose to 10.8 percent. All interest received was donated to Cory Cemetery.

The proceeds of the sale were held for 33 years. When cashed out in 1995, $300 was donated to the Surface Creek Historical Society to enhance Pioneer Town and $1,268.81 given to Cory Cemetery to help fund the drilling of an irrigation well.

President Jan Gage conducts the business meeting at the September OCWC meeting.
At the OCWC June picnic Scharee Atchison, left, brought a birthday cake to celebrate the birthday of her mother, Jene McPhaul, right.
Jason Cleckler, Delta County Memorial Hospital CE0, spoke of new programs and services, new staffing and collaborative agreements with other hospitals to an interested and appreciative OCWC audience.
OCWC’s officers are, from the left, Jan Gage, president; Barbara Murdock, information officer; Adrienne Bruni, vice president; and Nome Boyd, secretary. Treasurer Darlene Johnson is not pictured.
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Clubs, Orchard City, Orchard City Women's Club
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