Volunteers play vital roles in helping the Library further its mission of building an educated and vibrant community through access to information and opportunities. Each month we introduce you to and highlight the work of one of these generous individuals.
Meet Janine Yunker
Some folks are natural born advocates – and Janine Yunker is one of them. A Jeffco volunteer for nearly six years with both Evergreen Library and Home Service Delivery, Janine was a retired attorney back in 2013 when she first approached the library to ask about opportunities to “give back.”
“If something ever happened where I can no longer get out and about, I’d want someone looking out for me,” said Janine. “That’s why I was attracted to the Home Service opportunity – I wanted to be that person looking out for someone else.”
This was not exactly new territory for Janine. Years ago, after graduating from law school in Florida, Janine scored a job with the State’s Public Defenders office in Jacksonville, where she provided legal representation to clients unable to pay for their defense. However, Florida was not the state where Janine would ultimately settle down. A native of Wyoming, Janine grew up on a 100-acre spread, as a barrel-racing cowgirl. So, it was just a matter of time before Janine looked west and was offered a job in the Federal Public Defenders Office for Colorado and Wyoming, where for 23 years she served as a trial lawyer.
“I really enjoyed helping those clients,” Janine remarked. Highly successful in her work, Janine had the privilege to represent defendants before Judge Richard Matsch (the judge who presided over the Oklahoma City bombing trial), and Judge Wiley Daniel (Colorado’s first African American federal judge).
As a Home Service volunteer, Janine delivers books and materials to four library patrons, three of whom are living at home and one who resides in a nursing home. She always takes time for some friendly conversation with each patron during her visits.
“We talk about their families, their grandkids – I ask how they’re doing, and just kind of keep an eye out for them to make sure they’re being cared for.”
In addition to her monthly Home Service deliveries, Janine also volunteers every Friday morning at Evergreen Library, assisting the Operations team with shelving and de-shelving holds, shelf reading, retrieving requested materials, and generally straightening and organizing the library collection.
“Janine is so generous with her time and talents,” remarked Sandy Hutchins, Evergreen Library’s Operations Supervisor. “She’s quite the pistol too – always quick with a joke or a funny story. She keeps us all on our toes.”
When not volunteering with the library, Janine likes to travel with her husband Brian, and they spend a lot of time outdoors biking, hiking, and “playing” on their 5 acres in the foothills. From time to time, Janine and Brian rent llamas and hike up into the Flat Tops Wilderness area near Steamboat for some fly-fishing.
“Llamas are kind of funny. If you pack too much on their backs, they’ll let you know by sitting down and not budging. People can be kind of ornery like that too, you know,” Janine winked. “I should know – I’ve been known to be ornery myself, sometimes.”