- Your Town
Jaycees honor two of their own – Tammy and Kim Baker are JC royalty
There is a unique tradition within the Dillon Jaycees that occurs after all the work is done and members are circled around a cooler of beer, chatting about what they have done, what they should do and why. An oral history of colorful stories from Jaycee days gone by has kept alive the lively, interesting and colorful history of the service organization. There are many, many chapters within that history – Ted Hazelbaker, Spence Hegsted, Jim Flynn, Tom Welch, Roger Pelletier – and of course, Kim Baker.
The Dillon Jaycees and Dillon Jaycee Auxiliary will honor Kim and Tammy Baker as this year’s Labor Day Parade Marshals. The Dillon Jaycee experience, which included a heavy dose of Labor Day events, played a major role in the lives of the couple when they were young, getting their professional careers underway and starting a family.
“We both worked together and a lot of our friends now are friends that we had in the Jaycees, who worked together as husbands and wives,” said Tammy of the unique relationships built through serving the community. “A lot of man-hours and a lot of time spent down at the fairgrounds.”
Tammy and her friend Kathy Knox ran the Miss Montana Rodeo Contest while it was still a part of Montana’s Biggest Little Weekend. She says it was a lot of work, but worthwhile because of the state-wide interest it brought to the Dillon event. The contest, which for decades was a fixture in Dillon, was taken by the Montana PRCA and integrated into the Montana Circuit Finals.
Tammy served as the Jaycee Auxiliary president, vice-president and secretary during her years with the group. Over the years, she chaired or worked all of the projects, including Breakfast with Santa.
According to Kim, Tammy’s support and attitude through the years made his contributions to the Jaycees possible.
“She’s the other part of me,” said Kim.
Both Kim and Tammy were honored by their peers in their respective organizations in 1990. For the first and only time, a husband and wife team received the highest honor the same year – Kim was named by the Dillon Jaycees as the year’s “Outstanding Young Man,” and Tammy was tabbed by the Dillon Jaycee Auxiliary as the 1990 “Outstanding Young Woman.”
Kim’s introduction to the Jaycees came from his friend Rick Nield. A year later Nield would leave the group, but Baker was in for the long haul.
“When I first joined they didn’t have the Jaycee Building finished yet, so my first night I was plumbing under the sink and somebody kept handing me the beer hose tap, so that was pretty interesting,” recalled Baker. “We did a lot of projects, but that was with everybody. We just donated where we needed to.”
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