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Denison Service League turns 65 and looks to continue helping non profits

By Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Attendees at the Denison Service League's 2018 "Dancing with the Stars" pose for a photo before the event.

The Denison Service League is celebrating 65 years of giving back to the community this year. This week, the service organization is holding a sip and shop Kendra Scott event at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Texoma Event Center in Denison. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For ticket information see the Denison Service League's Facebook page.

"We had to cancel our biggest fundraiser of the year, so we are just trying to raise some money to give to local agencies," said DSL Past President Linda St. Clair. 

Evan Martin and Stephanie Clark were honored for raising the most money for the Denison Service League event held in March of 2018.

She said last year the organization gave away over $60,000 to local agencies who help children in the community. This year, however, COVID-19 required the group to close down their resale shop, The Bargain Box for several months. That limited funds as did the cancellation of the groups one big fundraiser in 2020.

The Denison Service League, she said, is founded on the principle assisting those less fortunate the in Grayson County area. It is run by 100% volunteer efforts of its members, of which, she said, there are approximately 80 at this time. 

Since its origin, the Denison Service League has been able to give back more than a million dollars to the Texoma area, and volunteers have put in more than 360,000 service hours.

Judges Sarah Pierce, Kim Ramey, Lisa Martin and Chuck Phelps clap for dancers during the 2018 Dancing with the Stars event.

This year, of course, those volunteer hours have been cut because so many of the agencies that they usually help have had to turn away volunteers due to COVID-19. However, St. Clair said, they are still recruiting new members and welcome anyone who is interested in becoming a member to contact them or come to the birthday celebration in December at the Cafe Blackbird in Denison. 

They do two membership classes a year and another one will start in January. St. Clair said the organization welcomes women of all ages and both working women and those who work at home. The most important thing, she said, is a willingness to work toward that common goal of helping the community. The Denison Service League began in 1955 and has been supported by generations of local women working toward that goal ever since. 

Jan Wojciechowski offers a rose to Beata Wojciechowski during their performance Saturday night at the Denison Service League's Dancing with the Stars event.

"When we first started, they would come into the homes (of those who wanted to join) with white gloves," she said of the rigorous inspections that were part of the membership requirements of the past. They don't do that anymore, she said. She added that there are also different commitment requirements for volunteering and participation for those who  those who work full or part-time and those who don't. The key, she said, is to allow each woman to contribute her talents to the community in the best way possible.

For ticket information visit, https://www.eventbrite.com/.../denison-service-league...

Anthony McKinney dips Alisa Hamel to end their performance during the Denison Service League's Dancing with the Stars event Saturday night.