Hayden Eagles member, 93, honored as woman of the year

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Longtime Hayden Eagles member and past Idaho state auxiliary mother and grandmother Joyce Finley, 93, center right, was recognized as the Idaho Eagles Auxiliary 2019 woman of the year at the state convention in Lewiston in June. Finley stands with her friends and Hayden Lake Eagles colleagues Monday afternoon outside lodge No. 4080 on Wyoming Avenue. From left: Donna Leader, Jo Ellen Reynolds, Linda Smith, Finley, Carlotta Staples and Karen Fleury. LOREN BENOIT/Press


Staff Writer

HAYDEN — If happiness could be measured in cakes and pies baked for others, drill-team performances and breakfasts served, then Joyce Finley has lived a pretty happy life so far.

“She’s been our best worker,” Hayden Auxiliary Madam President Carlotta Staples said Monday.

She’s contributed a lot of happiness to others, too, at her home Eagles lodge in Hayden and in neighboring Coeur d’Alene, where she's a dual member.

“Whenever you need help, Joyce is always there,” past state president and Hayden trustee Linda Smith said.

"Eagles are people helping people," Finley said. "That's our motto."

Finley, of Hayden, has been a member of the Hayden Eagles since 1988. She was born in Old Town on the Washington border and has lived in North Idaho ever since.

She spent years on the Eagles drill team, often bringing home state and Northwest regional trophies.

“It was a fun thing, in a way,” she said. “We had fun. It was a lot of dedication. We’d have to be there for practice once a week and as we got closer to competition time, you were practicing as much as you could get the group together.”

Finley has worked many Sunday mornings making breakfast for the masses at the Coeur d’Alene site. She’s used her talents to sell countless raffle tickets to raise funds for Eagles-supported charities.

And, at 93, she still pitches in any way she can.

"Boy does she sell those raffle tickets,” Smith said with a laugh. “You either give, buy or get out of her way."

Finley, an admired and respected member of her lodge, was recognized as the Idaho Eagles Auxiliary 2019 woman of the year at the state convention in Lewiston in June.

In the nomination letter from her Hayden Eagles colleagues, Finley was described as being ready to assist “whenever a helping hand is needed” without ever a thought of saying no. The great-great-great-grandmother served as the Idaho State Auxiliary mother for Madam President Betty Woodland, state grandmother when her daughter, Donna Leader, was state madam president and as a committee chairwoman for the state for various presidents "and never turned down an opportunity to serve in any capacity when asked."

She has served in her own auxiliary, Hayden Lake 4080, as mother, trustee and outside guard as well as many other positions when asked.

"It’s awesome to have her from our Eagles and we all hope that we can do the same when we get her age," said Staples. “She just keeps up. Everybody tries to work as hard as she does."

Finley is also on the board of directors of the Strider organization, which gets seniors out of the house and active as they walk, run laps and stay healthy.

"She's like the Energizer Bunny. You can’t stop her," Leader said. "That's what everybody says."

She enjoys serving the Sunday breakfasts, where she gets to make new friends and see old pals.

"Oh, it’s the people," she said about what she loves most about volunteering. "You get to where you know the regulars, and you get new people coming in."

"Joyce is quite a lady," said Hayden Auxiliary Vice President Jo Ellen Reynolds. "She's my inspiration"

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