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P.E.O. Tour of Tables a huge fund-raising success

Posted: Thursday, Nov 1st, 2012

A Nutcracker Christmas is the festive theme of Susan Schomburg’s table. This year’s Tour of Tables had a sold-out 235 in attendance. (Photo/Pat Mitchell)

Papa Eats Out

Phone Each Other

Process Even Orbits

Patty’s Elated Optics

I know, I know, none of the suggestions make any sense as to what the letters P.E.O. stand for...and it really doesn’t matter.

What matters is WHAT this ladies’ philanthropic organization accomplishes-”women celebrating the advancement of women; educating women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and the stewardship of Cottey College; and motivating each other to achieve their highest aspirations.”

To reach these goals, money is needed. Raising that money is what the Tour of Tables is all about. This project has become an inspirational and cultural event that has increased in popularity over the last 11 years. Chapter AW and R of Platte County have sponsored this salad luncheon that annually raises approximately $5,000. The money helps to fund six international P.E.O. projects which support women’s educational goals. At this time, a former Wheatland High School graduate is going to airline mechanic school being aided by one of these scholarships. Another young woman was able to go to welding school because her babysitting was paid for by funds received from one of these international projects. These chapters offer scholarships to local high school graduates, too.

The Tour of Tables began as a suggestion from Murel Connolly’s late mother who had attended one in another part of the state. “Now Carol Cook, Mary Louise Shepherd, Murel and I have become the perennial organizing committee,” said Molly Wilhelm.

Each year there’s a different theme for the tables. Last year’s was the Platte County Centennial Celebration. This year was children’s tales which included everything from The Little Red Hen, to the story of parents’ first wedding anniversary dishes that will be passed to a granddaughter for her first anniversary, to a couple of men who tell the stories of the families’ ranches on Sybille Creek and the Laramie River. Each table is the recollection of something in the designer’s childhood remembrances.

“I always think we’ve seen it all, but each year something else new and different appears,” Molly Wilhelm, state president of P.E.O. said. “One year we received a Wyoming State Historical Society award for preserving local history and genealogy. Young brides don’t get dishes like this any more, but those who have inherited them from family members recall the traditions that are part of their pasts.”

This is the largest scholarship fundraiser by far and wonderfully received by the community. Not only do attendees get to sit at their choice of unique table settings, but the multiple salads and desserts satisfy any palate. This is well-worth the $20 ticket.

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