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Jackie Olmstead: Embodiment of volunteerism

Jacqueline Olmstead stands at the podium at the April 25 Baldwinsville Rotary Club meeting, gavel in hand, ready to introduce her quest speaker. The day's business has just concluded in between a few smacks of her gavel, and the small crowd before her are finishing their lunches and beginning to grow restless.

She tries to speak. Laughter interrupts. She starts again. Chit-chat drowns her out. Olmstead is unfazed. She smiles, leans back in her lime-colored suit, and plays to the crowd.

"All right," she tells them, "You all can just tell me when to begin."

Olmstead is at ease at the podium, smiling and joking with friends and familiar faces. She has presided over the Baldwinsville Rotary since 2005. But that is not the only organization where she volunteers her energy and aplomb before a crowd. Olmstead donates countless hours at countless organizations and small businesses throughout the village.

Ask around Baldwinsville, and especially at the rotary, and people gush about "Jackie."

"She is the embodiment of volunteerism," said fellow Rotarian and friend, Norma Widmann. "You won't find a more giving and involved person."

Along with the Rotary Club, the 66-year-old Olmstead is a board member at the Riverview Cemetery. She works as a trustee for the Baldwinsville Public Library, where she helps to determine everything from policies to salaries -- her main focus is finance.

Olmstead regularly volunteers at the YMCA, although she admits she is not as involved as she as she has been because of her presidency at the Rotary.

Added to these, Olmstead holds two part-time jobs.

"I should probably mention this," she says sheepishly. "I'd get in trouble if I didn't."

She is treasurer of the First United Methodist Church. She also works two days a week keeping the books at the Sollecito Landscaping Nursery.

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