Mt. Vernon Register-News

June 19, 2013

Jaycees cleaning out train depot

By RICK HAYES rick.hayes@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — A longtime civic organization — Mt. Vernon Jaycees — is disbanding, and club members are conducting one last project this weekend to cap off its 67-year legacy.

A public rummage sale will be held at noon on Saturday and Sunday at the club's most recent meeting place, the old train depot off Second Street.

"What we're doing this weekend is cleaning the place up. We've went down there a couple of times and tried to keep it mowed, trying not to be an embarrassment to the city, even though there is not a functioning body in that building," explained former president Bill Schulte. "We're offering to anyone who was a past Jaycee that they can help clean it up, they are also welcome to any of the memorabilia we have because we have a lot of awards and other things inside the building."

What is not taken by former Jaycees will be sold or given to public members.

"We're not pricing things out, we're just asking for a donation," Schulte said.

"All of the money after the chapter is completely dissolved, we are giving to Mt. Vernon Township High School for the continuation of the Wendell J. McReynolds and Joe Torregosa scholarships. Those are going to be perpetual scholarships in the name of the Mt. Vernon Jaycees," he said.

A lack of interest led to the demise of the Jaycees, a training organization for young people between the ages of 21 to 40. At its peak, the local organization had 140 members.

"Annual elections is usually held in December, and in 2012 there were not enough viable members to fill all the positions on the board," Schulte said. "Nothing has happened since then with no one willing to step up and take it over."

The club has held meetings at several locations in town, moving into the depot about 15 years ago.

"The Historical Society was gracious enough to donate that building to us when we moved into that clubhouse, so we're also looking for someone interested in obtaining or taking that building from us," Schulte said, noting the depot is on city property. "We're hoping that some non-profit organization would be interested in it. It does have heating, and it's a viable building for some organization to use."

Schulte said the Mt. Vernon community has been very supportive of the club through the years.

"We were a very active part of the Mt. Vernon community for decades. Some of the projects we hang our hat on is Salute to Freedom, Haunted House, and we started and maintained the Christmas lighting program for the downtown area and the four main roads coming into town. As our membership diminished, those projects were taken over by different people," Schulte said. "The Haunted House is one of the oldest functions of the Jaycees that a lot of people will remember."