Retired Employees Association News

The following updates were written and provided R.E.A. President Tom Kearney and Secretary Paula Slifer.


September 2016 Board Meeting Minutes

So, what are you going to do when you retire? If you are a member of OPS/REA, the answer is "Everything!"

On Sept. 21, we held our opening meeting called "Hit the Trail" to coincide with our theme of "A New Frontier." The décor emphasized transportation – for which Olathe historically has been a hub. From covered wagons to railroads to automobiles to airplanes, Olathe has seen it all. Table decorations included a boot, a horse, and a space shuttle (piñatas, of course) as well as model trains. We even had a state trooper to keep order among these retirees (thanks to Diane Gossage). Generous Olathe merchants donated some great door prizes including car washes, tickets to the Kansas City Automotive Museum, tickets to Wild West Days at Mahaffie House, and a family pass to the Commemorative Air Force's Air Show. Marsha Stoker gave a rundown of events for the year. Don Everhart described the fall trip to Fort Scott (including a drawing for wine), and Cindy Hayes of Kansas Association of Retired School Personnel informed members of benefits available through this group. An item of organization business: John Kieffer was elected president-elect and will serve as president for 2017-18.

This was followed by a brief meeting of the board. After the approval of the minutes by Secretary Paula Slifer, our Treasurer John Kieffer reported a healthy account of $4,612.59 in available cash. Social Committee Chair Texanna Ollenberger, recently honored by the Olathe Alumni Association, is preparing for the "Earl of Sandwich Day" event for Nov. 3. Volunteer Chair Doug Cox reported that our group contributed over 22,000 hours of volunteer work over the past year. The new count started in August. Stephanie Royer and Raleen Cox, Scholarship co-chairs, represented the group at Scholarship Night and there was a good turnout – although fewer kids were going into the field of education. Legislative Chair Ernie Claudel emphasized that members need to vote on Election Day, Nov. 8. The board continues to refine the proposal for a scholarship for classified employees seeking a degree in education.

Our first fundraiser was Bunco Night on Oct. 11. Attendees had a great time and raised $624.00 for the scholarship fund. We are looking forward to the fall trip to Fort Scott including a visit to the Museum of the Unsung Hero, tour of the city, shopping (of course), lunch, and a trip to an elk ranch in Neosho, Mo. We leave from the Center of Grace parking lot at 7:45 a.m. and return at 5:15 p.m. Tickets are still available. Contact Diane Gossage at 780-8182 or e-mail at

Also, place Nov. 3 on your calendar for the OPS/REA "Earl of Sandwich Day" event. Bob Courtney of the Olathe Historical Society will present films from his group. The price is $12.00 and starts at 11:30 a.m. Hope to see you there!

August 2016 Board Meeting Minutes

As the students went back to school, the OPS/REA board began its year at its monthly board meeting. We have a lot of events planned for the upcoming year and hope you can participate in all of them.

Our theme for this year is “A New Frontier.” It’s a way of looking at retirement – after a long and rewarding career, we all have set out on a new journey in life. Much like the frontiers represented in the various historical transportation sites in this area, we are able to explore!

After approval of the board minutes from May 25 (thanks to Secretary Paula Slifer) and the treasurer’s report (we have $3,705.59, according to Treasurer John Kieffer), the board heard committee reports. Mary Cochran reported for the Care and Concern committee, Texanna Ollenberger reported for the Social committee, and Judy Rapp reported 11 new members from the Membership committee. Doug Cox, chair of the Volunteer committee, reflected on over 10,000 hours of volunteering by OPS/REA members last year and looks forward to even more. Paula Slifer will be the OPS/REA representative to the Olathe Public Schools Foundation and participate in monthly “Surprise Squad” activities in the district. The Scholarship committee, co-chaired by Stephanie Royer and Raleen Cox, is ready for another year. Legislative co-chairs Ernie Claudel and Ron Gardner reported on the results of the August primaries and encouraged members to exercise their right to vote in November.

Marsha Stoker and Terri Jarboe, co-chairs of the Fundraising committee, announced the events for 2016-17:

  • Sept. 21 – “Hit the Trail” event at NLSC, 10:00 a.m.-noon; renew  acquaintances and win door prizes
  • Oct. 11 – Bunco fundraiser at NLSC, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Nov. 3 – “Earl of Sandwich” event with Bob Courtney, Olathe Historical Society, NLSC, 11:30 a.m.
  • March 10 – “Cooking with Christina,” making scones with Christina Robson, NLSC, 9:30 a.m.
  • April 3 – Texas Roadhouse fundraiser, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • April 26 – “End of the Trail” lavender farming presentation, NLSC, 10:00 a.m.-noon

Although not a fundraiser, the annual fall trip will be to Fort Scott, Kan., and Nevada, Mo. A new museum for the unsung hero has just opened in Fort Scott and has received many positive reviews. Don Everhart will present information about the trip at the “Hit the Trail” event.

In old business, President Tom Kearney renewed his request for nominees to serve as OPS/REA president for 2017-18. The committee will meet and discuss prospective candidates. The proposal for the new scholarship for district classified employees will be approved by the OPSF and submitted for membership approval at the Sept. 21 meeting.

In new business, the board discussed activities for the opening event which will include a presentation of the theme, remarks by OPS/REA member (and current interim superintendent) Dr. Pat All, games, and door prizes. The board will seek input from membership concerning a possible spring tour of Kansas City.