The P.E.O. Record May-June 2022 (public)

OFFICERS OF International Chapter


Patricia L. Brolin-Ribi

P.E.O. STAR Scholarship Chair, Jayme Resnik

Vice Chair, Sheri Bailey Isabelle DuBois Wattles Susan Smith Sue Barker

First Vice President

Cathy Moss

P.E.O. Foundation Chair, Nicole Berner Margaret “Peggy” Rose Jennifer Bream Finance Committee Chair, (Barbara) Ann Bowen Ellen Fox Belinda Hargrove Audit Committee Chair, (Barbara) Ann Bowen Ellen Fox Belinda Hargrove Study and Research Committee Chair, Elizabeth McFarland Vice Chair, Christine Ankeney Judith French Karen Leftwich Ellen Busby Glenda Dixon Special Appointment Parliamentarian, Barbara Rosi, PRP Nominating Committee Chair, Cathy Manhart

Second Vice President

Alix Smith


Kathryn S. Ebert

Recording Secretary

Jennifer G. Mitchell

Standing Appointments Administrative Staff Executive Director

Kathy A. Soppe

Director of Finance/Treasurer

Dana Van Roekel

Director of Communications/Historian

Kate Westercamp

Director of Information Technology

Dawn Clayberg

Director of Membership

Jennifer Chittenden

The administrative staff has offices at the P.E.O. Executive Office. Cottey College President, Jann Rudd Weitzel, Ph.D. Boards of Trustees and Standing Committees Cottey College Chair, Kathryn Bayne

Susan Penrod Lori O’Keefe Jacqueline Dawson Marylou Ruud Membership Committee Chair, Rita Briggs Vice Chair, Kathleen Feldman

Lauri Cushing Laura A. Parris

Vice Chair, Diann E. McChesney Secretary, Georgann Douglas

Becky Clines Susan Harber P.E.O. Leadership Development Committee Chair, Debbie Kotecki Julee Carucci Karen Fite Special Committee to Study a Virtual Ceremony of Initiation Jennifer G. Mitchell

James R. Bickel Cheryl Denslow Tamara Kenworthy Hope Zoeller Jack Ewing

Joan Braddock Lydia Bangert Ariel I . Delaney P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund Chair, Ann Lambert Vice Chair, Nanci Rosensteel Laurel Andrew Stephanie Halton

Susan Penrod Janet Litterer Monica Brown Denise Rugani

Marti Ramsey Kristin Cresta P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund Chair, Jan Knuckey Karen Neylon Bobbie Gervais P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education Chair, Debra Dumler

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To Reach The P.E.O. Record or Submit Material Becky Frazier, Editor 3700 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312

P 515-255-3153 F 515-255-3820

P 515-255-3153 F 515-255-3820 E bfrazier@

Beverly Prewitt Donna Corbin P.E.O. Scholar Awards Chair, Rebecca Daniel Terry Northcutt Lisa Cooley (Go to Member Login, enter username and password, then click Contact Us.)

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PRESIDENT’S | message

Embracing Opportunities in P.E.O.

Opportunity is a fascinating concept—it is a chance to do something. When confronted with challenges, how we approach them makes all the difference in the world. We are living in momentous and demanding times— and not just for P.E.O.—but for all of society. With those challenges come difficulty AND opportunity. Winston Churchill phrased it well, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” It might seem convenient to ignore the impact COVID-19 has had on our sisters and the uncertainty some feel as we take steps toward more inclusion. While those matters influence our decisions and actions, how can we respond to them in ways that move our Sisterhood forward and strengthen what makes P.E.O. so special? Is it by remembering that even as our sisters’ perspectives and approaches may vary, we have far more in common that brings us together—the loving concern we have for our sisters and the positive impact we provide for our project recipients? I think those are what set P.E.O. apart and make it so special. A challenge we face is a decrease in membership, as noted in our annual reports. We will never truly know why sisters chose to not remain active. Was it due to a life-altering change from COVID-19 or a shift in priorities from months with less social interaction? Was it a consequence of amendments passed at Convention of International Chapter in 2021, or even a misunderstanding of their effects? We may never know. To move forward, it is more important to focus on the positive things that are occurring for P.E.O. and take the opportunity to reach the aspirations we share for our Sisterhood. So now is our opportunity to step forward to help our Sisterhood shine. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work,” Thomas A. Edison once said. Isn’t that the truth? Yes, it does take effort to promote our wonderful projects by

P.E.O.s are happy to give that effort. We see examples of that time and again. Consider the great impact of how we care for each other. There’s an important reciprocal aspect to P.E.O.—we give to each other and we receive from each other. We give each other the strength and inspiration to be better persons, grow as leaders and serve our communities— all to make a positive difference in the lives of others. P.E.O.s take the opportunity to go that extra step by the way we care for each other and share our lives with each other—both in good times and in bad. In these hectic days when women are pulled in so many directions and it can be hard to form deep and lasting bonds, that sense of connection is a very special benefit of membership. That impact is also apparent throughout our communities and by the assistance we offer our project recipients, as we work as a team in furtherance of our shared mission. While we strive for self-improvement and growth in ourselves, we also delight in helping others to better themselves through education. P.E.O.s are seldom happier than when we can help project recipients toward their goals through financial support and encouragement. Now is the time to embrace these opportunities to move P.E.O. forward through actions to express our loving concern and support of our projects. Thank you for all you do for P.E.O. Together we Raise the Bar to the Stars! With best wishes and P.E.O. love, Patti

by Patricia L. Brolin-Ribi, President, International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood

DURING THIS CONVENTION SEASON, our P.E.O. sisters are finding joy and renewal in the opportunity to be together once again. After two years without an in-person convention, I’m excited to reconnect and hope you are as well! This time allows for reunions with dear sisters, forging new friendships, celebration of our projects, business and inspiration. It also allows us to regroup and find ways to move P.E.O. forward and take advantage of opportunities.

supporting them financially and identifying students who would benefit from them. It also takes a concerted effort to nurture our current sisters and find new ones. Yet those opportunities are so worthwhile and produce such positive rewards that


May–June 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


Contents The P.E.O. Record | May–June 2022 | Vol. 134 | No. 3

cover story

ON THE COVER: Laura Shepard Churchley crosses the gantry to board Blue Origin's New Shepard capsule on launch day, Dec. 11, 2021. (Photo credit: Blue Origin)

P.E.O. Laura Shepard Churchley Soars to Space in Rocket Named for Her Father BY BECK Y FRAZI ER 6

Special Features


Special Committee to Study a Virtual Ceremony of Initiation BY THE EXECUT I VE BOARD OF INTERNAT IONAL CHAPTER





Ceremony of Initiation to Welcome New Sisters Starting July 1, 2022 BY THE EXECUT I VE BOARD OF INTERNAT IONAL CHAPTER


P.E.O.s Making a Difference with 4-Legged Friends BY CAROL CROWDER , MARY LOU LONG AND DI ANE BRANDHORST


Uplifted by P.E.O., Bulgarian Woman Achieves Dream of Studying in the U.S. BY JAN WICKS



Working on Christo Project was “Dream Come True” for P.E.O. Grant Recipient BY TR ICI A DR I SCOLL AND DONNA CORB IN

18 20

5 Takeaways From the P.E.O. Listening Tour BY JENNI FER CHI TTENDEN

P.E.O. Stars Shine on Screen in Short Documentary BY A IMEE JONES



FOLLOW US Facebook:

Instagram: @peointernational

Twitter: @PEOSisterhood

LinkedIn: International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood

PEO International


THE P.E.O. RECORD | May–June 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

IN THIS | issue

In Every Issue 1

P.E.O. Philanthropies and Foundation 21  P.E.O. Foundation Undesignated Funds Help P.E.O. Projects “Raise the Bar to the Stars” BY P. E .O. FOUNDAT ION BOARD OF TRUSTEES 23  P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund ELF is All in the Family BY NANCI ROSENSTEEL 24  Cottey College Farewell Message BY DR . JANN WEI TZEL 26  P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund Check Your IPS IQ BY BOBB I E GERVA I S 27  P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education Written in the Stars of Our Sisterhood BY DONNA CORB IN 28  P.E.O. Scholar Awards Now is the Time to Look for Your 2022/2023 PSA Candidate! BY L I SA COOLEY 29  P.E.O. STAR Scholarship Making the Connection: From STARS to Sisters BY SUSAN SMI TH 50 P.E.O.s Always Raise the Bar to the Stars: Updated Project Giving Totals

 President’s Message Embracing Opportunities in P.E.O. BY PATR ICI A L . BROL IN-R IB I


Your Letters


 P.E.O. International Membership Committee A Note About Transferring BY TONI A BOHNEN


 P.E.O. Leadership Development Am I a Leader? BY BETH ROY

19  Tech Tip

Project Yourself from Email Phishing Scams BY ANNI E JENK INS

36 Award Winning Ideas 38 Centennial Chapters 39 New Chapters 40 P.E.O. Authors 42 Where in the World is The Record? 44 Fundraising Marketplace

Gallery of Presidents 30 Wendy James, Alabama Barbara Kraft, Alaska Susan Detmer, Alberta-Saskatchewan  Stephanie Gunderman, Arkansas

Veselina Hristova Jones, Massachusetts Sue Gerberi, Mississippi Susan Lani, Nevada Lois Chick Johann, New Jersey Alana S. Baker, New Mexico Christina Mockler, Ontario-Quebec Sarah Adams, Tennessee Jane Meek Simmons, West Virginia

48 About P.E.O. 49 To the Point

Events and Reminders 22 The P.E.O. Record: New & Improved Digital Edition 25 Connect with P.E.O. International on Social Media

 Heather Hankin, British Columbia Peggy Mitchell, Delaware  Jennifer Andreas, Maryland

The P.E.O. Record (ISSN 0746-5130) is published bimonthly by the P.E.O. Sisterhood, 3700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312-2899. Periodical class postage paid at Des Moines, Iowa, and at all additional mailing offices. Subscription price is $5.00 per year. Single copies are $1.00. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The P.E.O. Record, 3700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312-2899. Printed in USA. Canada Publications Mail Agreement No. 40586518. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to IMEX, P.O. Box 4332, Station Rd., Toronto, ON M5W 3J4. Submission of material to The P.E.O. Record is your consent to our right to edit and publish it, either all or in part, in any P.E.O. print or digital communication medium. The content matter may or may not reflect the opinions of the Sisterhood. Complete submission guidelines appear on the “Members Only” section of P.E.O.’s official website, The P.E.O. Record welcomes members’ submissions to the address on the inside front cover.


May–June 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD



A Sister Relationship Developed in Spite of COVID-19 The development of a “special” sister relationship has been a positive surprise impacting our Chapter EP in Lakewood, Colorado. COVID-19 could not put a damper on this relationship evolving. Chapter EP was an International Peace Scholarship (IPS) Partner in Peace Chapter in 2020 and 2021. The Partner in Peace student we were matched with, Nomcebo Dlamini, is from Swaziland, Africa. Early in our emerging relationship we learned that Nomcebo had a twin sister and a daughter and son at home staying with her parents. It

was hard for her to leave her family when she was selected as an IPS recipient. She had been accepted at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, as a counseling student working toward a master’s degree hoping to graduate in May 2022. The serendipitous part of this “sisterhood” story is that, as the liaison between our chapter and Nomcebo, I was also involved with helping my twin granddaughters get ready to go off to their freshman year at college. Abby was going to Seattle and the University of Washington, and Emma was going to Syracuse University in New York. It was a surprise moment when I put these two Syracuse stories together! Nomcebo and Emma are two smart lovely woman, sharing P.E.O. and Syracuse connections as well as the fact that they each have a twin sister. — Judee Filip, EP, Lakewood, Colorado

Generosity & K indne ss

Sammie Jo Pack holds the 20" daisy star wreath she made for Chapter AI, Amarillo, Texas.



Like ripples in water, acts of kindness and generosity can reach far beyond their point of origin. Our chapter was reminded of this when we attended the memorial service for our beloved Golden Girl, M.J. Nelson. Prior to the service, a sister from a nearby town arrived bearing a pretty star-shaped wreath covered in white silk daisies. She placed it beside the other flower tributes and after the service, she retrieved it before returning home. Her thoughtful action started a ripple. Days later, as our members reflected on M.J.’s memorial, it became obvious that the presence of that star wreath made an impact. It reminded us of how important P.E.O. is, not just to the members, but to those whose lives we touch. The things we do in the name of our organization last well beyond our time on earth. And the flowers on that star reminded us of each of our sisters who together form one larger dynamic body, positioned to shine and spread goodness into the world. Despite efforts to determine who brought the wreath that day and what the story is behind the daisy star wreath, we found no answers. Sisters and Golden Girls from other local chapters told us they had not heard of this practice before, but thought it was a lovely idea. Perhaps we didn’t need the backstory on the wreath after all. Instead, maybe we just needed to make sure this ripple continued. With that in mind, our Chapter AI sister and artist Sammie Jo Pack was commissioned to make a wreath we can use and share. We expect her beautiful creation to impact others for some time to come. Perhaps your chapter will be prompted to make one too. — Brenda Rush, AI, Amarillo, Texas

Editor’s Note: The P.E.O. Record attempts to present all viewpoints in response to published content. Responses published in Your Letters are limited to the single issue following the issue in which the material in question was printed and, as with all submissions to The Record, are published at the editor’s discretion and dependent upon available space.


THE P.E.O. RECORD | May–June 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

SPECIAL | feature


As in-person meetings were restricted, virtual and hybrid meetings became commonplace throughout our Sisterhood. Even now as chapters continue to balance the health and convenience of our members, many chapters continue to meet exclusively on virtual platforms. While this option has been invaluable to P.E.O. during the last couple of years, we are restricted under the Constitution in how we may grow our membership while using virtual platforms. The Emergency Authority of the Executive Board of International Chapter currently permits Initiation by Affirmation but, to allow greater flexibility for our Sisterhood and in anticipation of the future lifting of the Emergency Authority, the question of conducting our Ceremony of Initiation in a virtual format has arisen. In response, a special committee was appointed by the President of International Chapter in January 2022. The charge of the committee is: In recognition of the potential for local chapters to use hybrid and virtual platforms to conduct chapter meetings, coupled with interest expressed by the membership, the Special Committee to Study a Virtual Ceremony of Initiation is charged with investigating the feasibility of conferring our beloved Ceremony of Initiation using a virtual format. With respect for the traditional, private and unique aspects of our ceremony, and exercising all possible care to maintain the current content and structure of the ceremony insomuch as possible to express the full significance

of membership in P.E.O., the committee will make recommendations to the Executive Board of International Chapter of new and modified instructions and procedures as well as proposed changes to governing documents and the ceremony which would enable local chapters to confer the Ceremony of Initiation in a virtual format. We would like to thank the following members for accepting appointments to the Special Committee to Study a Virtual Ceremony of Initiation:  Jennifer G. Mitchell, Recording Secretary of International Chapter; past chair of the P.E.O. Leadership Development Committee; past president of Florida State Chapter; Chapter EM, Melbourne, Florida  Susan Penrod, member of the P.E.O. International Chapter Nominating Committee; past chair of the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education Board of Trustees; past president of Texas State Chapter; Chapter FP, San Antonio, Texas  Janet Litterer, past member of the Special Committee to Study P.E.O. Ceremonies and Meeting Procedure; past president of Connecticut State Chapter; Chapter AB, Fairfield, Connecticut  Monica Brown, past president of Alberta-Saskatchewan Provincial Chapter; Chapter H, Edmonton, Alberta Denise Rugani, Chapter QC, Walnut Creek, California

COTTEY COLLEGE UPDATES by the Executive Board of International Chapter and the Cottey College Board of Trustees

The Executive Board of International Chapter and the Cottey College Board of Trustees continue to monitor factors that have a potential effect on institutions of higher learning. Specifically, colleges and universities are in flux as they consider the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on enrollment (Zahneis, 2021; West, 2020). There is also demographic research which forecasts a general decline in the number of future students, which has been described as the “enrollment cliff” (Hubbard and Minter, 2021; Kline, 2019; Barshay, 2018). At this time, it is uncertain what impact this changing landscape may have on all higher education. Cottey College follows a best practice of regularly reassessing its plans and projections to move the college forward. That process is at the forefront of strong leadership at any college. In addition, in the summer of 2021 the chair of the board of trustees appointed a Committee on Sustainability. The committee is undertaking a study, in conjunction with campus leaders, to identify measures to assure the financial sustainability of our college, especially ongoing operations. This forward-thinking approach to address challenges in higher education speaks well for Cottey College, as it shows the college’s commitment to prepare for the future.

The Executive Board of International Chapter supports the steps being taken by the board of trustees as responsible stewards of Cottey College. The executive board and the board of trustees realize P.E.O. members have a keen interest in the future of our beloved college and we will endeavor to keep you informed. REFERENCES – Barshay, J. 2018. College students predicted to fall by more than 15% after the year 2025. The Hechinger Report. – Hubbard, D. and J. Minter. 2021. A looming enrollment crisis for Midwest colleges. Trusteeship, 29(6):20-25. Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. – Kline, M. 2019. The looming Higher Ed enrollment cliff. Higher Ed Magazine, CUPA-HR. – West, C. 2020. Enrollment effects. Trusteeship, 28(6):12-17. Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. – Zahneis, M. 2021. A Historic Decline in U.S. Births Signals More Enrollment Troubles. The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 7, 2021.

As of this writing, the Cottey College 2021-2022 Revised Operating Budget is posted with the Convention of International Chapter 2021 materials on the P.E.O. International member website at this link:


May–June 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


COVER | story

in Rocket Named for Her Father

by Becky Frazier, Editor, The P.E.O. Record

On December 11, 2021, Blue Origin successfully completed the third human spaceflight - the first with six astronauts on board. Blue Origin spacefliers, plus company founder Jeff Bezos and crew trainer Kevin Sprogue, cheer as a celebratory post-landing photo is taken. (Photo credit: Blue Origin) Pictured left to right: Michael Strahan, Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin founder), Laura Shepard Churchley, Dylan Taylor, Lane Bess, Cameron Bess, Evan Dick and Kevin Sprogue (crew trainer)


THE P.E.O. RECORD | May–June 2022

The sky has never been the limit for Laura Shepard Churchley, JK, Evergreen, Colorado. As the oldest daughter of astronaut Alan Shepard, she learned from a young age that there’s muchmore of the world to explore than life on Earth. Laura recalls one of many evenings spent in the backyard with her family, looking at stars and constellations. On this particular night in 1957, they were looking for a shiny red ball in the night sky—the Sputnik satellite, which had been successfully launched by the Soviet Union. “We spotted it and Daddy was so mad because it wasn’t America,” says Laura. The space race had begun. The following year, the United States initiated Project Mercury, the country’s first man-in-space program. Alan Shepard was one of seven astronauts chosen for the mission and in 1961 was the first American to enter space. Ten years later he commanded the Apollo 14 mission and became the fifthman to walk on the moon. In the 60s and 70s, with America fully behind the space program, the eyes of the nation were glued to television sets for every space launch and astronauts became huge stars. They and their families were thrust into the spotlight. “It was a bit of a challenge,” says Laura. “Overnight everybody would recognize Daddy no matter where we went. People wanted to talk to him and shake his hand. We didn’t go out often but when we did, people would stop him constantly and it definitely slowed us down.” Laura’s mother, Louise Brewer Shepard, who was a member of Chapter AY, Houston, Texas, from 1966 until her passing in 1998, often told the story that whenever she and Alan would go to a restaurant, the maître d’ would lead them to a table, pull the chair out for her to sit down, she’d turn around and Alan would not be there. Invariably, he would have been stopped on the way to the table by people wanting to meet him and shake his hand. Louise would then chat with the maître d’, getting to know themwhile she waited for her husband. Laura laughs, “Mother joked she was on a first-name basis withmaître ds in every restaurant in the country.” Louise, Laura and the rest of the Shepard family tried to handle Alan’s fame with good humor and grace. “We had wonderful times, too,” said Laura, “like being in ticker tape parades in all the big cities, we got to have dinner at theWhite House and we met presidents andmovie stars.” Laura went to boarding school in Saint Louis, Missouri, from 8th-12th grades. She then attended Principia College, her mother’s alma mater, in Elsah, Illinois, where she studied art and art history. It was there she met her first husband. After they had children, Laura was thrilled to be a full-time momwhile continuing to support and promote the work her father started as a pioneer in the U.S. space program. “The sky is not the limit...we have footprints on the moon.”

Laura (center) at her high school graduation with her P.E.O. mother, Louise, and astronaut father, Alan

Throughout her life, Laura has remained passionate about educating people, especially the younger generations, about space exploration. She now serves as chair of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Board of Trustees. The Foundation, created in 1984 by her father and five other Mercury 7 astronauts, raises funds for the brightest andmost talented college students in science, technology, engineering andmathematics and provides mentoring to scholars pursuing careers and research in those fields. Scholarships go to outstanding college juniors and seniors. “They are absolutely brilliant,” says Laura. When asked if she ever thought she’d see commercial space flight in her lifetime, Laura

(continued on page 8)


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(continued from page 7)

said, “No, I truly had no concept of it at all. I never even thought about it.” So it certainly never crossed Laura’s mind that she’d ever go to space herself. However, in 2017, she was approached by her friend Jeff Ashby, a three-time shuttle pilot for NASA, who nowworks for aerospace company Blue Origin. Ashby knew that Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin,

and Laura said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if a real Shepard went on the New Shepard?” “I didn’t think there was anyone fromBlue Origin there,” she said, “but in September Michael Edmonds [a senior vice president at Blue Origin] called and asked if I’d like to go for a ride.” Laura’s response was simply, “That would be really nice.” Puzzled, Michael said, “I thought you’d be a little more excited.” Laura’s emphatic reply was, “I’ve been waiting for you guys to call me!” Once Laura knew taking a ride into space was going to be a reality for her, she started to mentally prepare. She said, “I was afraid I was going to be afraid and I didn’t want to be.” To get more comfortable with the idea, Laura went to watch Blue Origin’s first

Laura Shepard Churchley embraces Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos after he pins the company’s astronaut wings on her flight suit (Photo credit: Blue Origin)

was building a reusable suborbital rocket system called New Shepard, named after Laura’s father. He asked if she would ever be interested in going. She was hesitant and told Ashby she would have to think about it and talk it over with her family.

New Shepard’s booster touches down on its landing pad (Photo credit: Blue Origin)

Over dinner one night, the topic of

Blue Origin’s missions came up and Laura said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if a real Shepard went on the New Shepard?”

commercial flight launch in person in July 2021; she watched the second launch on TV in October 2021. After seeing the success of those flights with civilians on board she gainedmore confidence. Laura believed everything would work out as it should and often reminded herself of a saying fromher Christian Science background, “trust and know as you go.” Boosting her confidence evenmore was the training she and her fellow passengers received. “Training was spectacular,” Laura said. “They had a simulator identical to our space craft. We got in and out of it 20 times a day. Every time we went in, we had to pretend it was the real thing, buckling our harnesses, looking at the monitors, everything. We would do a simulation of the 10 minute launch every time we went in.”The simulations even included the sounds they would be hearing throughout their journey.

In the meantime, she told Ashby, she would like a tour of Blue Origin. Laura and a friend traveled to Kent, Washington, where they toured Blue Origin headquarters and even got to sit in a capsule simulator. The following year, Laura met some Blue Origin staff at the Space Symposium in Broadmoor, Colorado, where she was able to sit in a simulator seat again; she started to become more comfortable with the idea that she really might want to go to space. Fast forward to June 2021, when Laura traveled to Cape Canaveral to attend a 50th anniversary celebration of Apollo 14, the mission on which her father walked on the moon. Over dinner one night, the topic of Blue Origin’s missions came up

The crew of New Shepard NS-19. Pictured from left to right: Dylan Taylor, Lane Bess, Cameron Bess, Laura Shepard Churchley, Michael Strahan and Evan Dick. (Photo credit: Blue Origin)


THE P.E.O. RECORD | May–June 2022

COVER | story

years before. “It was really fun because it was similar to my father’s flight into space,” she said. “He went up 15 minutes, 116 miles. We went 10 minutes and 66 miles. When he was coming down, he landed 300 miles fromwhere he took off; we landed five miles fromwhere we launched.” Laura described the capsule’s landing in the desert, assisted by three parachutes, as feeling “like plopping down on a chair,” certainly

muchmore gentle than the splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean her father had experienced. “The thing is,” she said, “Daddy was a pilot, he was flying his spacecraft. Ours was a ride.” Laura knows being a guest on Blue Origin’s New Shepard was a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity but when asked if she would go again if she could, she replied immediately, “Yes, in a second.”

Laura climbed aboard the New Shepard for her space flight on December 11, 2021. She said, “It was like just doing another practice run. I wasn’t afraid. I had total confidence because of the training we had so I could enjoy every bit of it.” Laura recalled the intense feelings of the g-force on her body, especially on her chest. “If I tried really hard, I could lift my arms,” she said. On launch, New Shepard reached 3Gs, on descent, 6Gs. A highlight of the trip was the three minutes of weightlessness the crew experienced. It was “not long enough,” according to Laura, who described unbuckling her harness and floating, totally unaware of her body, making it a truly mindful experience. She had fun doing a handstand, which simply entailed holding on to the arm of one of the seats and letting the rest of her body float up. This actually wasn’t the first time Laura had experienced weightlessness, but it was certainly the longest. In her youth, her father, an accomplished pilot, would fly the family back and forth fromTexas to Colorado and perform aerobatic maneuvers to create about 12 seconds of weightlessness inside the airplane. Out of the six large windows in the New Shepard capsule, Laura’s views were mostly of clouds and the blackness of space, but at one point she was able to see the blue atmosphere between space and Earth. She explained, “In the air, the spacecraft turns. About every 90 seconds it makes a complete circle so you’re not looking at the same thing the whole time.” While taking in every moment of her space flight, Laura’s thoughts were also on her father, thinking about what he experienced when he first went into space 60

Laura Shepard Churchley, JK, Evergreen, Colorado, is a third-generation P.E.O., initiated in 1977 into chapter AY, Houston, Texas, where her grandmother Julia Brewer and mother, Louise Shepard, were members. Laura’s cousin Alice Shepard Wackermann was initiated on the same day as her, truly making it a family affair. Before he joined the space program, Laura’s father, Alan Shepard, was in the Navy, which had the family moving every nine months. Laura recalled, “Mother always said P.E.O. was good for moving around.” Laura discovered the truth in this herself when she moved to Colorado. “I knew no one,” she said, “And right off the bat, I found a P.E.O. who invited me to join Chapter FR in Evergreen.” Chapter FR grew so large that in 1996, Laura and 20 other members started a new chapter, JK, also in Evergreen. Laura has held most offices in her chapter, presented programs and is on the social committee; she especially enjoys hosting and giving parties. Laura’s interest in art has never waned; she does needlepoint and plans to take painting lessons this summer. Laura and her husband, Fred Churchley, have been together for 25 years. Their blended family of children and grandchildren, 21 people in total, all live in Colorado, where they enjoy spending time together. Laura and Fred are avid golfers and enjoy skiing. In the summer Laura hosts a week of “Nana Camp” for her grandchildren where they do crafts and go swimming. A shining star in her family, her community and our Sisterhood, Laura has proudly followed in the footsteps of her astronaut father and P.E.O. mother! LAURA SHEPARD CHURCHLEY IN P.E.O.


May–June 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD

SPECIAL | feature

to Welcome New Sisters Starting July 1, 2022

by the Executive Board of International Chapter, P.E.O. Sisterhood Members will soon be initiated into the P.E.O. Sisterhood through our beautiful Ceremony of Initiation once again! The ritual is often a highlight of our member experience—both as a new member and a current member. Our Ceremony of Initiation provides greater meaning than formally bringing in a new member. Hearing the words reminds us all of the meaning behind our emblem, our five virtues, our Objects and Aims and the promises we each made as we entered P.E.O. membership. The Ceremony of Initiation unites every P.E.O.!

• The Ceremony of Initiation is only to be conferred at an in-person meeting; there are currently no options for the ceremony to be conferred at a virtual or hybrid meeting. • The Ceremony of Initiation may be conferred on more than three members/candidates at one time during the period from July 1, 2022, through December 31, 2022. • The Ceremony of Initiation has been revised due to amendments adopted at the 2021 Convention of International Chapter. More information, including updated Ceremony of Initiation booklets, replacement pages for the President’s Book and detailed instructions will be mailed to local chapter presidents prior to the July 1 effective date. Questions should be directed to your local chapter president.

Starting July 1, 2022, the Ceremony of Initiation will replace Initiation by Affirmation for all members joining P.E.O. after June 30, 2022: • The Ceremony of Initiation will welcome all new members beginning July 1, 2022. After June 30, 2022, Initiation by Affirmation is no longer an option for membership. • Our sisters who were Initiated by Affirmation between September 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022, will receive the Ceremony of Initiation: – Prior to December 31, 2022 – Before serving as an officer during the Ceremony of Initiation – From the chapter to which they currently belong

Please join us in celebrating the reintroduction of the Ceremony of I nitiation to ourSisterhood and welcoming new sisters!


THE P.E.O. RECORD | May–June 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

MEMBERSHIP by Tonia Bohnen, Organizer, South Carolina State Chapter Transferring ANote about Transfer ( t rans · ​fer) According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word transfer is defined as “to convey from one person place or situation to another.”

In P.E .O. , transfer is def ined as moving membership from one chapter to another chapter. Transfer allows a sister who has moved to keep her membership and join a chapter in her new location. As simple as this sounds, a transfer can create two sets of polar opposite feelings for an unaffiliated sister who is considering a transfer. For example, she is excited about joining and meeting sisters in a new chapter; however, it can also create sadness in having to leave a beloved chapter. Transferring to a new chapter is not easy, nor is it done without careful thought and consideration. Yet, a transfer is something all unaffiliated sisters should take to heart as it is not only beneficial to the sister in making new bonds, it is also beneficial for the Sisterhood as a whole.

From the chapter perspective, while having a sister “Transfer Out” can be sad, the chapter also knows the sister is continuing in P.E.O. and still participating in the mission. For the “Transfer In” chapter, it is exciting to have a new sister! It is also fun to learn about another chapter’s traditions and fundraisers that might be employed by the “Transfer In” chapter. A transfer in can contribute new energy to the chapter and provides opportunities to create a new bond. All chapters should make a monthly effort to check the Unaffiliate List and to invite unaffiliate sisters to attend their meetings and social gatherings. The sisters on the Unaffiliate List need a new P.E.O. home and should be welcomed to their new community, too. A simple phone call, visit or email can make the difference in a sister’s life, especially if she has just moved from a familiar home to a new state or community. Just remember, a friendly voice or visit amongst the chaos and unfamiliar can bring happiness. Transfer. When it is used in P.E.O., it should be viewed as a celebration of our bonds of sisterhood.

Here are just a few benefits for considering a transfer: • The unaffiliated sister expands her circle of sisters and creates new memories • It helps the unaffiliated sister transition to her new community with an automatic group of sisters to surround her and welcome her to a new home • The unaffiliated sister honors her previous chapter by continuing to participate in the Sisterhood they invited her to join While it is tempting not to transfer and keep membership in the chapter with letters that are engraved on the back of our emblem, becoming part of a new chapter allows you to continue in the fellowship of our Sisterhood. Isn’t fellowship the heart of P.E.O.?


May–June 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


SPECIAL | feature

As you get to know the P.E.O.s in your chapter or flip through the pages of The P.E.O. Record, you’re sure to recognize what a wide variety of special interests and areas of expertise those in our organization possess. We’re continuously impressed with how P.E.O.s use their talents. Here we’re thrilled to share stories of how three P.E.O.s are making the world a better place with help from some special furry friends. with 4-Legged Friends Difference P.E.O.s

P.E.O. Founder of PAWS For People by Carol Crowder, I, Newark, Delaware

Making a

Lynne Robinson, I, Newark, Delaware, is the epitome of what a P.E.O. sister should be.

Not only does she show loving concern to those in her chapter, she also demonstrates compassion to people in her local community. Lynne is the founder and executive director of “PAWS for People,” a 17-year-old non-profit organization that provides pet therapy support for disabled, ill, anxious and/or stressed individuals. Healthcare workers, hospital patients, students, etc.—the list is endless—all have experienced the healing powers of pet therapy. PAWS therapy teams, along with their amazing pets, provide hope, comfort and love to those in need. PAWS began as a tiny non-profit organization in February 2005, with only Lynne, 21 therapy teams, 10 places to visit, a phone, an amazing therapy dog named Boo Radley and lots of hope. Under Lynne’s leadership, it has blossomed into a staff of 11, along with 500 trained and certified teams that visit over 202 partnering sites in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The start of the pandemic proved to be challenging for PAWS. COVID restrictions created obstacles to therapy programs that relied on one-on- one visits and close proximity with ill and disabled people. Lynne, her staff, and her therapy teams got creative and found innovative ways to continue caring for people while following health guidelines. They conducted Zoom sessions, did window visits, sent out cards, pictures and videos and did everything they could think of to offer the joy and comfort of their pets to those in need. These programs proved quite successful and PAWS is gradually returning to “in person” visits as sites begin to open back up. Lynne beams with pride as she explains the many benefits of pet therapy that she’s observed first-hand. “Pet therapy is a powerful, healing therapy aligned with other alternative therapies. Watching the positive change in people as they visit with a dog, cat or bunny is a reward in itself. People relax, become more focused and feel better. Now, especially during the grips of this pandemic, pet therapy is in great demand. We all could benefit from some time with a calming, affectionate pet.” The positive impact that Lynne and PAWS have had on the local community has not gone unnoticed. Lynne recently received the State of Delaware Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Award that honors the contributions of Delaware individuals and groups who have made a significant impact in their communities through service and volunteering. Despite serving as executive director of PAWS, Lynne has never taken a salary. Instead, she prefers to volunteer her time and energy to the healing mission of the organization. We are so proud of the compassionate work she does in the community and love having her as a sister.


THE P.E.O. RECORD | May–June 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

SPECIAL | feature

Diane with Scott & Zoe

by Mary Lou Long, MW, Rolla, Missouri Learning to Read with Pam & Haley

Meet My Therapy Dogs

by Diane Brandhorst, B, Long Beach, Mississippi

Pam Gahr, Chapter MW, Rolla, Missouri, is a talented and generous sister. She spends her time organizing visits and card-sharing with our sisters who can no longer attend meetings, serving as an officer and representing our chapter at the state convention. As the daughter and daughter-in-law of former elementary education teachers, Pam felt like she and her golden retriever, Haley, should pursue certification as a therapy dog team to help kids learn to read and enjoy reading. Pam researched various internationally- recognized programs for therapy dog teams and opted to become certified through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. It just so happened that at the same time, a small elementary school in our area reached out to the director of the local PAWSitive Reading Program inquiring if they might have someone willing to work with their first and second grade children’s reading program. Pam and Haley gladly accepted this new volunteer assignment to listen to first and second graders read and help them improve their reading and comprehension skills. She purchased a special rug for the kids to sit on while they read to Haley, so Haley could put her head in their lap and be close during the story. At the holidays, each kid receives a meaningful book from Haley so they can build, or add to, their personal at-home library. When the COVID pandemic closed schools in 2020, the program was halted. But when Pam asked the teacher how she and Haley could help, he suggested they read with the kids via Zoom. Using Zoom, Haley and Pam read twice a day, four times a week until the end of the school year. Pam laughed, “The teacher asked if he could set up an email account for Haley so the Zoom invitations could come from ‘Haley the Dog’!” It worked beautifully and kids begged to be scheduled to read with Haley on Zoom. Team Haley and Pam read more than 30 books with students in

Say “Hello” to Scott and Zoe. They are both therapy dogs. Therapy dogs are trained to be a welcome support and a joyful friend to people who are hospitalized, reside in nursing homes, staying at behavioral health facilities as well as children spending time in day care centers for disabled children. What does it take to have your dog become a therapy dog? The easiest way is to associate with a group who will help you in the process to train and manage your dog for the task. The group I chose is Pet Partners International. Pet Partners International is supported by independent regional groups. My dogs and I are part of Visiting Pet Teams of South Mississippi. Pet Partners requires each handler train their own dog, either by themselves or through any training program, to obey basic commands. I put Scott (my first therapy dog) through the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen training program. This was very helpful as Scott was a puppy (eight months old) when we started training. Therapy dogs are required to be at least a year old to become a part of the program. Scott is very social and has a ton of energy. Although he learned most commands very easily, he had a very hard time leaving other dogs (or people who are reluctant to pay attention to him) alone. He always wants to make new friends. Zoe was much older when she came to live with us. She is not as exuberant as Scott and has no problem being calm. I call her my “lap dog” and Scott is the “personality” in our family. Scott passed his Pet Partners evaluation in April of 2019. Dogs are allowed to visit no more than two hours a day. Scott and I spent two hours a day, five-to-six days a week visiting in 2019. We were awarded the U.S. President’s award for volunteer service for that year. Of course,

first through third grade during the

we visited fewer times in 2020 due to COVID. Zoe passed her evaluation in April of 2021. Today I am happy to bring a happy moment in two bundles of joy—two therapy dogs— to all those we meet, wherever we visit.

time the kids were learning from home.

“Pet therapy is a powerful, healing therapy aligned with other alternative therapies.”

– Lynne Robinson, I, Newark, Delaware


May–June 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


SPECIAL | feature


Borislava and Nicholas (far right) with Chapter BE members Sally Toepfer, Lois Langlois, Carol Maglietta and Marjorie Phillips

by Jan Wicks, BE, Freeport, Illinois

Borislava Marcheva-Strychacz, EL, Berkeley, California, was a Bulgarian teenager in 1999 when her dream was to study in the United States. She had prepared by attending an English- speaking high school in her homeland and by scoring well on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. With her family unable to afford a university education in Bulgaria, she needed a full scholarship.

tuition and room and board. At Cottey, I blossomed. I felt empowered as a woman to develop my skill set, and to explore subjects I didn’t know a lot about, such as world religions, business law and ethics. Most importantly, I felt as though I had a future again.” Borislava graduated with honors from Cottey College and was accepted at Smith College, where she completed

has frequently visited her P.E.O. friends in Freeport, once to introduce her husband, Nicholas; now they have two beautiful daughters. Chapter BE has been enlivened and enhanced by the experience of being a mentor, supporter and cheerleader for this remarkable woman. Borislava says, “I don’t for a second think twice when friends ask me what

Borislava’s mother knew a work colleague who had studied English in Freeport, Illinois, with Lois Harlan, BE, Freeport, Illinois. Through Lois, Borislava learned about Cottey College and the P.E.O. Sisterhood. Lois and Chapter

contributed to my educational and professional success the most. It was chapter BE in Freeport, the entire P.E.O. organization and my dear friend Lois Harlan, who is no longer with us. I have been truly blessed and hope to

“I don’t for a second think twice when friends ask me what contributed to my educational and professional success the most. It was chapter BE in Freeport, the entire P.E.O. organization and my dear friend Lois Harlan, who is no longer with us.” – BORISLAVA

BE members eventually put the wheels in motion to bring Borislava to Freeport and helped her go to Cottey College with scholarship funds. Borislava says, “It is difficult to even begin describing everything that Chapter BE and the entire P.E.O. organization has done for me. Through the chapter’s incredible generosity, I was able to make my dream come true and not only was I accepted to Cottey, but was able to pay for the

her bachelor’s degree, again with honors. After working for a while in Washington D.C., she returned to graduate study at Johns Hopkins University where she received her master’s degree with honors and joined the P.E.O. Sisterhood. Today she is director of market insights at Rally Health in Washington, D.C. Certainly she is an amazing woman with an exceptional work ethic, compassion and loyalty. She

be able to pay it forward one day.” How fascinating to imagine “the full import of P.E.O.” when duplicating this success story worldwide by all of our P.E.O. projects! We are truly an organization which celebrates the advancement of women; educates women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and the stewardship of Cottey College; and motivates women to achieve their highest aspirations.


THE P.E.O. RECORD | May–June 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

P.E.O. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Leader? Am I a Dora J. Dougherty Strother was a third-generation P.E.O. born in 1921. She became a member of the Women Air Force Service Pilots

These three P.E.O women are part of the history of P.E.O. leadership. They join countless others who have successfully utilized leadership skills in all aspects of life—workplace, community involvement and P.E.O. While their successes stand out, we need to look no further than our own chapter sisters to find a variety of leadership skills on display. Those sisters who accept the responsibility of being a local chapter officer are leaders. They are actively helping the chapter become a place where women are encouraged and empowered to positively influence the lives of women. With close to 6,000 local chapters, these local chapter officers become the glue that holds P.E.O. together. Those sisters who raise their hands to assist with projects are leaders. Whether brainstorming fundraising ideas, organizing events, creating or selling items or interviewing project candidates, each one of these sisters is a leader as she works as part of the team. Those sisters who spread the love and support of P.E.O. are extremely appreciated leaders. They are the first to pick up the phone and check on a sister who may have received a difficult diagnosis. They bake cookies and deliver flowers, lend a sympathetic ear or give a word of encouragement. They smile as a sister enters a P.E.O. meeting. They knowingly share a piece of themselves to develop lifelong friendships.

P.E.O. created the Leadership Development Committee to provide support and enriching leadership skills to all current and potential leaders we are proud to call sisters. To strengthen your leadership skills: 1 Use P.E.O. as an opportunity to stretch and expand your leadership skills. 2 Explore the topics and watch one of the Leadership Development resources. 3 Encourage another sister to try a leadership role. With over 200,000 P.E.O. leaders in the United States and Canada, we are truly able to make a difference in our world. We appreciate and acknowledge each of you! YES, you ARE a leader!

(WASP) during World War II. She set a world record for altitude in helicopter flights by female pilots, was inducted into the Military Aviation Hall of Fame and received the Amelia Earhart Award for Academic Achievement. Margaret Hillis was also a P.E.O. born in 1921. She began playing the piano at age five and later studied at the Juilliard School. She was the founder and first director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, established the American Choral Foundation and received nine Grammy awards. Bess Truman was born in 1885. She was a charter initiate of P.E.O. Chapter S, Washington, D.C. She worked as a senate staff member and then served as First Lady of the United States from 1945-1953. During her time in Washington, D.C., she held a weekly Spanish class for friends. Bess was the Honorary President of the Girl Scouts.

Watch the presentation “Leadership Development Resources: A P.E.O. Perk” to find out about the topics offered under the Leadership tab at . This would make an easy chapter program! Leadership Ti :


May–June 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


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