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Guild celebrates 50 years of success

Current Guild members are: in front, from left, Jodi Green, Evie O
Current Guild members are: in front, from left, Jodi Green, Evie O'Connor, Joni Chenaur, Charlene Renquist and Linda Johansen; middle row, LuAnne Hedges, LaVerne Nearhood, Jo Giddings, Merle Carlson, Louise Dryden, Pat Niederkorn, Lynne Honsowetz, Joan Skinner, Betty Albert and Diana Bruno; in back are Meri Schiller, Patti Prather, Joan Root, Patty Durgin, Jeanne Thuotte, Trudy Wozeniak, Ann Trullinger, Pamela Waddell, Elise Hoit, Kathy Trullinger, Alice Brynestad, Sheryl Karle, Donna Luchs, Paulie Trepus, Dorothy Wytko and Jan Cutright.
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By Brenda Sexton

The Courier-Herald

Fifty years ago, 27 ladies from the Buckley area got together and formed the Ida Marge Orthopedic Guild to aid Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center in Tacoma.

Now, almost 50 members strong, the Guild will celebrate its golden anniversary with an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Frontier Bank, 112 S. River Rd., in Buckley. There will be cookies, coffee and a quilt drawing.

“It's our way of saying thank you to the community for its support,” member Merle Carlson said.

The group began in February 1956 and was named after Buckley High School teacher and librarian Ida Marge Rooney, who died almost a year earlier. According to information from the organization, charter members thought Rooney's life characterized the courage, dedication and concern for children that is its cornerstone.

The group's purpose is to raise money for Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center.

“We've raised quite a bit of money in our little Guild here,” Carlson said. “The people in Tacoma know who we are.”

The Ida Marge Orthopedic Guild is part of the Tacoma Orthopedic Association which began in 1921. The association is a non-profit organization with 1,200 volunteers and 50 organizations in southwest Washington, that meets regularly to organize fund-raising efforts, participate in other guild events and support association projects.

The Ida Marge Orthopedic Guild donates between $4,000 and $6,000 a year to Mary Bridge for its needs. Through the past 50 years, the Guild has raised more than $198,000 for Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center.

For most of its 50 years, the Guild's crowning glory has been its annual “Country Store” fund raiser. The first Country Store took center stage on the steps of the Stewart Hotel, where the Buckley Senior Center stands today. Guild members sold eggs, pickles, baked goods, plants, gift items, aprons and potholders. The Guild has continued the Country Store every May.

“I remember going as a kid,” said Carlson, who attended that first fund-raising event with her mother, who was a member.

This year's Country Store is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 5 in the Frontier Bank community room. Much like the fund raiser of yesteryear, plants, hand-crafted items, books and Mother's Day gifts will be available with all sales benefiting Tacoma's Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center. Raffle tickets for a number of items are also available for $1. Tickets are available at This and That in Enumclaw and Frontier Bank in Buckley.

In addition to the Country Store, the Guild began a Christmas sale and luncheon in 1961 where hand-knit sweaters, hats and slippers, gift items, baked goods, candy, doll clothes and tree trimmings were available. The luncheon was left by the wayside, but the sale continues annually in November.

Another popular event took place between 1959 and 1987 - the Froise Pancake Luncheon every Shrove Tuesday. The women served up the thin, 12-inch pancakes in layers staked 14 high. Each layer was spread generously with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar and currents. Everyone who participated received a wedge-shaped piece.

There were other projects, like the hunter breakfasts and coin drives, that marked the Guild's determination to raise money for its cause. Through the years, the Guild has created and sold three different cookbooks brimming with its memberships' favorite recipes and the titles, “We Knead Dough,” “We Knead More Dough,” and “We Still Knead Dough.”

And, in fact, the Guild still needs money and members. Anyone interested in helping children is welcome.

“We're just a bunch of housewives, mothers and grandmothers who get together once a month except during summer,” Carlson said.

The Ida Marge Orthopedic Guild is among the area's most involved. Members meet in the evening the first Monday of the month, October through June, at Frontier Bank. Each member pays $10 in annual dues which goes to the Tacoma Orthopedic Association.

People interested in joining the organization or making a donation can contact President Lynne Honsowetz at 360-897-8219.

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