Living the Legacy with ’71A

Jolynn Cole Reed
March 29, 2024
Alumni-Planned Events

In the Fall of 2023, Cast 1971 A was in the final preparations for their “every three years or so” reunion. On a Sunday morning, I tuned in to the CBS Sunday Morning news show which ran a feature on the cost of living in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA. Jackson Hole is where the 1971 A Cast first met and put their show together. It holds a very special place in the hearts of all members of the cast. This would be our second reunion there.

The program was about the high cost of living in the Jackson Hole area, with the AVERAGE cost of a home being $3.6 MILLION. This, like many resort communities, meant there was a tremendous housing and food crisis for those people serving all of the tourists and resort living community. The program told of how overwhelmed the local food bank charity, Good Samaritan Mission, was in meeting the needs. In 2019 the Cast had donated all leftover food from the reunion to the Good Samaritan—so we already had a bit of information about this service.

As soon as the program ended, I called Good Samaritan Mission in Jackson Hole and asked if they would accept donations from our group as we liked to “give back” to the community that we loved. I received an immediate “please do!” from them. The next step was an email to the Cast. My thoughts were if everyone just brought a can or box or two of food items, we could do an old fashioned “food pounding.” I thought maybe we could set up a card table in the corner of the meeting room for the donations.

My email was immediately blown up! The Cast went into overdrive on donations. Checks came in from members unable to attend. Volunteers living in Colorado went to the bulk food stores Costco and Sam’s Club, and purchased cases of food and needed items. We even gave large cans of coffee because the Mission opens early in the morning to feed those living in their cars and has a coffee pot going all day. Many driving in had boxes of goods with them and others purchased items once they arrived. Steve Troeger and his wife got off the plane in Denver and drove their rental car to a thrift store where they loaded up with coats and bedding because we learned many in the community were living in their cars.

The little card table in the corner could not hold everything that was brought in. At the end of the reunion, we loaded Jill Colby’s Outback Subaru and my Jeep Wrangler with all of the items. They were literally filled to the brim. When we arrived at the Mission the workers there were as shocked as we were about the amount of goods brought. As Jill Colby, Bonnie Knight, my husband, Dan Reed, and I unloaded the items, to say that there were a few tears shed would be an understatement. In addition to the goods given, monetary donations were also made.

In addition, Glenn Johnson (cast member and coordinator of our reunion), met with the management of Cowboy Village where our reunion was held. Arrangements were made to also leave food items for the staff that works there, as they are part of that service community in Jackson Hole that feels the high cost of living there. More than a few items were added.

It may have been over 50 years ago that a group of naïve youngsters got together hoping to make the world a better place—but that spirit has not died. The best kind of folks you know!

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