The Junior League of Tyler was honored with a Half Mile of History marker on Tuesday for its dedication and contributions to the community.
The Half Mile of History, a permanent, outdoor, half-mile loop downtown, features stone plaques that are placed in the sidewalk to commemorate significant people, places or events, Mayor Martin Heines said. More than 40 plaques have been placed along the Half Mile of History.
During Tuesday’s ceremony at Gallery Main Street, the most recent marker for the Junior League of Tyler was unveiled, and various speakers addressed the audience.
Historical Preservation Board Member Chad Cargile detailed the history of the Junior League of Tyler.
“Recognizing a need for organized volunteer service in a rapidly growing city with ever-changing needs, 13 civic-minded women met in February of 1950 to make preliminary plans for the organization of the Tyler Service League,” he said.
Then “in May of 1950, the Tyler Service League gathered for an organizational meeting with its 13 sponsors and 32 charter members in attendance with the goals to serve and strengthen the Tyler community. On Feb. 1, 1960, the Tyler Service League was admitted to the Association of Junior Leagues of America.”
Today, he said, the Junior League of Tyler Inc., with 240 active and provisional members and 475 sustaining members, “continues to be an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.”
The Junior League of Tyler, whose purpose is educational and charitable, has given back more than $7 million, along with hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours for the community, Cargile said.
He said it also played a significant role in founding Hospice of East Texas, Stewart Regional Blood Center, The Discovery Science Place, Tyler Museum of Art and Tyler Teen Court, and has created and implemented its own programs, such as its annual Summer Reading Camp and the “Girl Power” program, as a service to the community.
Additionally, Cargile said, funding and volunteers are awarded each year to more than 25 local nonprofit agencies.
As a result, league members donate more than 20,000 hours each year to Smith County, he said.
Cargile said a biennial Rummage Sale — “Spring Sweep”; the league’s newest children’s book, “Goodnight Rose City”; three cookbooks: “And Roses for the Table,” “Cooking Through Rose-Colored Glasses” and “Ring Around the Rosie”; and the annual Mistletoe & Magic holiday shopping market, which marked 35 years last November, are among the league’s fundraising activities.
“Thanks to the vision and character of their charter members and the dedication of their volunteer members, the Junior League of Tyler remains a strong and vibrant force, continuing to make a meaningful impact in our community here in Tyler, Texas,” he said.
Meredith Roberts, president of the Junior League of Tyler, thanked the city and the Historical Preservation Board for honoring the league “for their service and commitment to our community.”
“It is our mission to promote voluntarism, to develop the potential of women and to improve our community in which we live,” she said. “Since 1960, the Junior League of Tyler has given $7.5 million and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to better the community.”