Active in the community

Published 6:41 am Saturday, August 3, 2019

I have noticed that a few clubs I belong to, or am on the fringe of, include a little tidbit of organization history in their meeting agendas. At a recent Rotary Club meeting, that little tidbit struck a chord with me because of the historic mention of both George and Jay Hormel.

Holly Johnson

Both men were an active part of the community life in Austin and Rotary was just one of the many organizations they supported.

George Hormel was listed as one of the 25 original members of the Austin chapter and he gave the program at the first regular meeting on January 5, 1920. His subject was “The Outlook for 1920.” Jay was not an original member but once he joined he became the club’s pianist.

I have copies of two speeches Jay gave to different Rotary Clubs. On April 12, 1937, he spoke to the Owatonna Club about the relationship between a business and its labor force. He traveled to Lima, Ohio on Sept. 14, 1943, to speak to that chapter about “POST-WAR PLANNING — AND HOW TO DO IT.”

In this presentation, Jay made many statements about what individuals, communities, and organizations could do to prepare for life after the war. He said:

“The only reason we call it post-war planning instead of just ordinary planning is that we all recognize that the end of the war will bring real changes into the lives of more people more suddenly than ordinarily happens … Post-war planning is a job which should be undertaken by every American with respect to his own niche in American life…Each community, and each business within a community, should do its own share. The least any community or any business should undertake is to find jobs for those who already are somehow attached to it.”

Fittingly, Jay served on the Rotary International Committee on Participation in the postwar World.

Ben Hormel, George’s youngest brother was also a member of the Rotary Club joining in 1943. He addressed the West Los Angeles chapter of Rotary in a presentation describing his life’s journey. His son, Ben Hormel Jr., made his own way within the Rotary organization serving in many official capacities in Nebraska. In fact, his nickname was “Mr. Rotary of McCook.”

These Hormel men spent much of their lives serving others. Their participation in civic and community organizations gave them a platform for influencing positive change in the areas in which they lived.

Aug. 30, 2019, will mark the 65th anniversary of the passing of Jay C. Hormel. His service to his community, to his family and to Rotary are to be admired.


Music @ the Mansion: Scott Jasmin and Friends-Small Town Songs

7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 5

Small-town Songs is a collection of original Americana that depicts snapshots of everyday life in an ordinary Midwestern small town. Jasmin’s original tunes reflect the nostalgia of small town living. Free.

Music @ the Mansion: Bissen Family and Friends Band

7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 12

One of the area’s most loved musical family (and friends) bands. These talented and downright friendly musicians will perform your favorite classic rock tunes. You’ll be singing along the whole time. Free.