TORRINGTON – A familiar face in the community has also spent time working on an International level throughout her career.
Marilyn Olson and her husband Gary have been staples in the community with Olson Tire as well as with TDS.
Olson said her calling was working with Job’s Daughters International.
Around the year 1985 was when Olson went to work at TDS and Olson Tire in Torrington.
“We had closed down the Alliance (Nebraska) store and we needed to make some changes,” Olson said.
When Olson started working in Torrington her children were in school and she only worked half-days.
Olson said she has basically been retired for 20 years already because she had so many other things to do. Having spent some time as a 4-H leader, Olson said most of her time has been spent with Job’s Daughters.
“I was a member of Job’s Daughters when I was in junior high and high school and I was the Honor Queen,” Olson said. “After I got married, I was on the Adult Council for a year or two.”
Stepping away from the group after her time on the council, the Olson’s adopted two children, Gina of Casper, Wyo., and Michael who passed away during a jet ski accident in 1993.
Gina was involved in the organization and became Honor Queen but did not pursue it any further. When Olson’s daughter joined Job’s, Olson got back into it working her way up as high as she could make it.
“I became the Bethel Guardian and eventually worked up to be Grand Guardian, which is head of the state for Job’s Daughters, and then that didn’t seem to stop me. I was a Grand Treasurer for 14 years,” Olson said.
Following her time as a Grand Treasurer, Olson went on to become part of the International Board as a Supreme Officer. Job’s Daughters has a presence all over the world including Brazil, Australia, Canada, the Philippines and the United States.
By the end of the three years Olson was part of the International Board, in the role of chairman.
Olson also served as Vice Supreme Guardian and Supreme Guardian.
Even though Olson is no longer holding high positions with the organization, she still stays involved in the local bethel, where she plays the piano. She’s known to Job’s Daughters as the “Bethel Grandma.”
A problem that came to light was the girls truly getting a voice on the direction of the organization because of their age.
Olson said they have started taking measures to give the girls a voice to preserve the future of the organization through the eyes of the future leaders.
“I’m all for giving them their chance to say so. In fact we started what we call town hall meetings when I was Supreme Guardian,” Olson said. “We let our Supreme Honor Bethel Queen and Miss International have a meeting with just the girls and the adults could attend but they couldn’t say one word.”
Olson said the rule might have made people angry, but it allowed the girls a chance to voice their opinions.
“We want their opinion without any fear of reproach,” Olson said.
Olson said they have continued using the meeting so they can learn what the members want.
Another aspect that Olson helped rally for, which took a few years to take effect was the sponsorship of members.
Previously the girls looking to join the organization could only join if they had blood ties to it, but now they are able to join as long as they are sponsored.
Currently Olson sits on a scholarship committee as an Eastern Star to give scholarships to members of Bethel No. 20.
Striving to help as many members become eligible receive the scholarship, Olson said she has had to push a few to get their grade point average up.
The scholarships are available for other schools than strictly college including trade school.
“Those girls, they are amazing. When you gain their trust and you don’t jump on them for every little thing they do…then you’re about three quarters of the way to being able to help them,” Olson said. “They all need something and it’s up to the adults to find out what it is.”
The girls involved in Job’s learn about Morality, Public Speaking and have the opportunity to travel.
Olson said her husband was always very supportive of her role in the organization.
“Up until the time I was Grand Guardian, when I was going out of state, he actually turned out to be the lucky one there because he got a lot of extra time with Michael. We made weekend visits, so I was home during the week” Olson said. “And when it came to the Supreme stuff, Gina was out of the house.”
It wasn’t until about 2006 when Olson started traveling internationally.
Olson said she always asked for and considered his opinion before she ran for a new office.
“I even conned him into being Associate Bethel Guardian with me for a couple of years,” Olson said.
Over the years the Olson’s have hosted foreign exchange students.
“I loved having them around. It’s quite a bit of work because we don’t allow them to drive,” Olson said.
The exchange student’s adventures truly become the adventures of the Olson’s as well.
Olson said they took the students on different trips to let them truly experience life in the United States and recalls a trip to Indianapolis where she and her students traveled all over the city.
Going along with all of the other adventures, the Olson’s spend time every year in Tucson, Ariz., and with her husband retiring soon, they will be spending more time there.