At the time of publishing this feature, AAT is operated solely by myself (Anthony Crosby). However, I’ve always joked that if one person made a great addition to the AAT team, it would be Mrs. Elaine Cassell! Why? Elaine has, by far, been the best at recommending people to be interviewed for the site! And, Elaine not only recommends individuals, but she has the connections and the follow through to make a lot of these conversations happen! So, thank you, Elaine! We’ve heard some great stories because of you. And now, because we here at AAT genuinely believe everyone has a story, it’s your turn to share a little bit about yourself, Mrs. Cassell!
Alright, Elaine. You seem to know a lot of people in this town. But now, let’s give some more people a chance to know you! Tell us a little about yourself! “I actually grew up in Southern California. I was adopted and came from a law enforcement family. My father was in federal law enforcement, and I lost him when I was nineteen. He wasn’t shot or anything like that, but he did have a heart attack from all the extra hours he put in. It was deemed work related. So, he died in 1978 and then I moved to Las Vegas in 1979. There, I met my husband, Chuck, within three months. We were married in 1980 have been together for thirty-eight years! He retired from law enforcement himself in 2002 and then we moved up here! I helped with the Chamber of Commerce for a while before getting involved with Soroptimist International of Elko. Both my husband and I have grown to love this community.”
If you talked with Elaine herself, it wouldn’t take you long before realizing just how passionate she is about Soroptimist. Elaine, for those who do not know, why don’t you tell us a little bit about the organization and what you do? “I’ve been involved with Soroptimist for ten years. We are a worldwide service organization for women. We’ve done global projects like provide cookers to the refugee camps in Africa, so the women don’t have to go outside of their camps to find kindling and expose themselves to the mercy of whoever is out there. When we have conference calls, they take place at five in the morning because people from all over the world are joining in. Here locally, we’ve been a charted club for over seventy years; we’ve been here almost as long as the city has! Along with the women we help, we also put on different programs for children as well, and all the funds we raise stays local. We’ve provided scholarships to women who are looking to better themselves for their families, up to a thousand dollars to help further their education in whatever way they need. We put on an event called “Dream It, Be It,” which is a support and mentoring day for teen girls; the girls will come in from as far as Wendover for this event. And the project we’re doing right now is called The Magic School Supply Bus; we’ve been doing this for over thirty-five years. We partner with the community to provide backpacks and school supplies for specific age ranges and grades of local kids in need. We take all of the backpacks to the schools a week before their year starts so the school and their counselors can give them out to their students; we usually put together around three hundred backpacks every year. Every kid needs to have new school supplies; I wouldn’t want to start the year with broken crayons! So, we have a lot of fun, and we make a difference in the community.”
It sounds like you all do a lot of positive things for our area, Elaine! In your decades of experience in the field of generosity, how would you say Elko is, generally, when it comes to giving back? “Elko is a really generous town, especially If you consider all of the fundraisers and non-profits that are in a town our size. There’s a lot that goes on here, but most people are willing to help. I even know people who have received help from one of our backpacks before and now they’re in a place where they can give a backpack or at least the supplies for one. It’s rewarding; I mentioned the Dream It, Be It event Soroptimist puts on for teen girls; we give out two scholarships to seniors who attend and all they have to do is write an essay on what they learned from their experience! So, I got to give out seven hundred and fifty dollars this year…I like giving money out! I like seeing smiles on people’s faces when I get to give them stuff. And that’s what it’s all about. Everything we do is a hand up to somebody who needs it. And I’m so thankful for all of those out there who donate to our programs and projects. ”
What a great attitude and passion you have, Elaine! Thank you for everything you and Soroptimist are doing to serve many people in the Elko area! If you are interested in learning more about Soroptimist, volunteering or would like to help contribute to The Magic School Supply Bus (which starts activity the week of July 10th through the second week of August), you can contact Elaine at 775-340-4334 or through their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sielkonv/
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See you around, Elko!