WHEATLAND – Since Jan. 21, 1869, the P.E.O. or Philanthropic Educational Organization has been dedicated to women helping women reach for the stars.
The organization has come a long way from that second story music room when the P.E.O. was founded.
At the P.E.O. headquarters, the open concentric circles sculpture represent the founders and the virtues of this “sisterhood” are listed as faith, love, purity, justice and truth.
The organization itself is a giving organization created and formed for the celebration and advancement of women through education by way of scholarships, grants, awards, loans and the stewardship of Cottey College.
According to their website, the goal is to motivate each other to achieve their highest aspirations.
The Tour of Tables organized by P.E.O. chapters “R” and “AW” was held Oct. 24 at the newly remodeled Agriplex in Wheatland. There were more than 300 in attendance and the group raised close to $7,000.
It was billed as a salad luncheon with the doors opening at 11 a.m. and a luncheon served at 12:30 p.m.
It was their 20th annual fundraiser of this kind in Platte County and according to one of the organizers, Mary Shepard, when they first began tickets were sold for $10 each. In this day of inflation and the cost of education, the cost of the tickets have gone to $25. In addition to the cost of the tickets, participants could participate in one of three different raffles that were going on during the celebration and luncheon.
There were 31 tables this year, each decorated by a different person with a different theme. It resembled a cotillion where people would come and share their interests. Each table not only had a theme, but a history of why the table was decorated as it was. From Christmas themes decorated in honor of a mother that left a lasting legacy to a Scottish Heritage table set up by Autumn Read. Her table was decorated and designed as a testimony to her pride in the Scottish Heritage of her family members.
This year there was also a table titled “Governor’s Residence Foundation” which featured special guest designer and first lady Jennie Gordon. The Wyoming Governor’s Residence Foundation table was dedicated to the staff who make the Governor’s residence run smoothly all year around. The china showcased in the display was utilized to provide the best experience possible for guests who dine with Governor Mark and First Lady Jennie Gordon. The table was set with Howard & Rosenthal china positioned atop Dansk charger plates. Graceful Waterford crystal glassware and flatware pices in the Melrose pattern by Gorham silver and the Grande Ballroom pattern by Wallace Stainless complete the place settings.
The table for the first lady was done by the Governor’s residence chef, Becky Beavers.
“Coming from a large family, my parents always said that education really levels the playing field,” Gordon said. “I admire you all for doing that and to help those who need it and to get the education they need.”
The luncheon was a type of pot-luck salad and dessert buffet where each member was encouraged to bring two of their best salads or desserts.
Six of the P.E.O. educational projects that money is raised for are: P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund, International Peace Scholarship, Program for Continuing Education, Scholar Awards, STAR scholarship, Cottey College and the Wyoming State Scholarship funds.
For further information regarding any of these educational opportunities for women, you may visit www.peointernational.org or call the local chapter presidents: Rosalie Ruwart, President, Chapter R (303) 910-6002 or Deanna Christensen, President, Chapter AW: (970) 768-1511