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LWVPA Salutes 50-Year Member Joan Jessen

LWV Washington County

My years of work with the League have been a fantastic experience. The League has always challenged me to improve the skills I had acquired and to develop new ones. And—perhaps surprising to some—my League work is a vital component of my social life. I treasure the friends I have made through the League and the experiences we have shared.

I am a charter member of the LWV of Washington County, which began in 1963 as LWV of Peters Township. I have served as president (1966-68) and for a brief period as Acting President, as well as Fist Vice-president and director for various program items, especially for Natural Resources. I have also been Election Service Director for LWV of Washington County, responsible for the Voters Guide. I served on the Board of Directors of LWVPA for six years, including two years as First Vice President, generally with program responsibilities in Natural Resource and Government areas.

The League has not been the only outlet for my interest and energy. I have always had multiple interests—I was active with several clubs in college. (I earned a B.S. in chemistry with minors in English and History at Mary Washington College of University of Virginia—now Mary Washington University.) When I first began working after college, I wrote a column for the Red Cross. And when we moved into our first house in Bucks Co., I joined the PTA, was on the board and wrote news reports of the PTA meetings. More recently, I have been deeply involved with the Washington County Watershed Alliance and the Chartiers Creek Watershed Association.

Even so, the League ranks #1 among the volunteer organizations I have worked with. I am committed to the work of the League and believe strongly that the League makes a huge difference in the civic life of our communities and our state and nation. The League does make a difference, and I appreciate helping to make that difference.

I worked as a chemist for a few years (I met my husband in the analytical lab where we were both employed).

Other major interests and activities: local government (including some interest in local politics)—served on the Government Study Commission, that wrote the Peters Township Home Rule Charter (which was adopted). Also interested in community planning, served on Peters Township Planning Commission for several years and the Washington County Planning Commission (25 years)

One of the most appreciated comments I have received:—someone I was working with on environmental issues, who appreciated the brochures I prepared, said that I have a knack for saying a lot in a few words. (I have written a number of brochures and newsletters over the years for the League and several environmental organizations.)

Sometimes call myself a “professional volunteer” because I have worked at it as if I were a fulltime employee and have enjoyed doing so. At one time, I considered looking for a fulltime job, but didn’t want to give up anything that I was doing.