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JA Honors Longtime Volunteer Commitment

Life members and active members of the Junior Auxiliary of Water Valley posed for a picture at the Simmons House Saturday. – Photo by Nicolette Young Photography


A Monthly Report From The Junior Auxiliary of Water Valley
By Erin Dyer

The Junior Auxiliary of Water Valley chapter, established locally more than 70 years ago, was founded on the principle of making a difference in the lives of children and has been comprised of women in Water Valley with strong character and leadership who are dedicated to serving their community.
In honor of each of the women that have served before us, our chapter hosted a Junior Auxiliary Life Member Tea on Saturday at the beautiful Simmons House to recognize the commitment and dedication of this special group of women.

Twenty-five Life Members, spanning several generations, and 25 active members gathered for a lovely mid-morning tea in the gardens of the Simmons House. The grounds offered a stunning backdrop to this intimate tea and created a magical atmosphere for past and present members to reminisce about former projects, discuss current initiatives and plan for the future endeavors.

The affair, catered by Six Peas Catering, featured an assortment of tea sandwiches including cucumber and herbed Boursin cheese, smoked ham and pimento cheese biscuits, mini-BLTs and shrimp ravigote finger sandwiches. The spread also consisted of gourmet scones, flourless chocolate cake bites, mini fruit tarts and mini red velvet cakes and was displayed gracefully in the garden.

Current President Hilary Howell welcomed the assembly and introduced past president and tea organizer, Rebecca Morris. Rebecca’s prepared remarks included a description of several of the chapter’s most impactful current projects and thanked the life members for their service and the legacy they have helped create in Water Valley.

Several life members took the opportunity to share some of their favorite JA memories. Current JA members were touched when life members Toni Hill, Linda Eakes and Elizabeth Caulfield spoke about the namesake of our JA Scholarship, Jessie D. Ostrander. While current members are all familiar with the name on the scholarship, we didn’t know the woman who dedicated her life to her community and why this scholarship name holds such significance.

Life members Mim Carpenter and Linda Maynor pleasantly surprised us with JA scrapbooks documenting years of the organization’s history. Some of these books were 50 years old and highlighted so many fun past JA projects. Past and present members alike loved looking at the photos, newspaper articles and programs from national conventions. The rich history represented in these scrapbooks has prompted our chapter to enact a Historian position.

Special thanks to The Simmons House for donating their wonderful venue, Six Peas Catering for the delicious spread and Nicolette Young Photography for documenting the event.
In addition to the tea, this month has also included the culmination of many JA projects. Last week, members packed the final Bundles of Love for the school year. Over the course of this school year, we packed 4,000 bundles, consisting of 100 pounds of food per week for students in Water Valley and Coffeeville!

Last week, JA presented scholarships to seniors at Coffeeville and Water Valley High Schools. Mr. Derius Taylor of Coffeeville and Ms. Brianna Parrish of Water Valley won the Jessie D. Ostrander Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 each.

Mr. Bryce Terry of Water Valley was awarded the CWD Enterprises, LLC Scholarship in the amount of $1,000, presented by Charlie Dyer. The scholarship is awarded to a senior who exemplifies a commitment to volunteering and service in our community. Special thanks to CWD Enterprises for sponsoring this scholarship.

Mark your calendars for June events JA is sponsoring! On June 10, we will sponsor a Blood Drive from 1-4pm in Water Valley. On June 10 we will also host our annual Silent Auction. Auction items will be available to view in person at TIN on Main Street as well as via online. Please see Facebook for a link to the online portion. All proceeds will benefit the children in our county. If you have an item you would like to donate, please contact us as soon as possible!

On June 24 from 10:30-1pm at City Park, JA will host a Family Field Day to promote family involvement with children, which is essential for their growth and development. Admission is free and the event will consist of field games such as tug-of-war, 3-legged races, egg races, obstacle course inflatable, a dunk tank, and food trucks with items available for purchase. Come join us for some summer fun!!

Several of our members attended the National Association of Junior Auxiliary’s Annual Education Conference, in Franklin, Tenn. this month. Attendees went to round table discussions, a service project, and an awards banquet. It was a big night for the Water Valley Chapter as we were recognized with the Eleanor Slaughter Award for achievements in chapter membership.

Our very own Sandra Bennett was awarded with the Betty W. Robbins Award for 2023 Volunteer of the Year. Sandra has dedicated her life to serving her community. She has a true servant’s heart and is an inspiration to each of our members. Congratulations Sandra!

At the May monthly meeting, Monique Horan was awarded “Hostess with the Mostess,” Chasity Logsdon was recognized for excellence in awards writing, and Whitney Crow was awarded the Members Matter Award. We kicked off our new 2023-2024 year with the installation of our new board.

We are looking forward to a fantastic year filled with serving our community! For more information on our projects and events, please follow Junior Auxiliary of Water Valley on Facebook. Businesses or individuals interested in sponsoring any of our programs or identifying any community needs for our consideration are encouraged to contact us at

Past Junior Auxiliary presidents gathered for a picture Saturday.

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