J.C. Penney Golden Rule Day held for second year

Toby Chytka, Gazette Reporter
Posted 8/30/22

Corporation gifts $10,000 to local homestead store

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J.C. Penney Golden Rule Day held for second year


KEMMERER — The second annual J.C. Penney Golden Rule Day and Community Picnic was held at Triangle Park in Kemmerer on Saturday, Aug. 27. Dozens of people were in attendance to celebrate the event, a reminder to treat others kindly and with respect. 

The evening began with J.C. Penney Chief Marketing Officer John Alyward presenting a $10,000 donation from the J.C. Penney Corporation to the J.C. Penny Homestead. It was given to Denise Sergent and Cindy Miller, who represented the mother store in Kemmerer. Then two grandchildren of J.C. Penney, Leigh Guyer and Alissa Keny-Guyer, gave thanks to everyone for allowing them to be here.

“We thank you for including us in this celebration,” Guyer said as he talked about his grandfather, explaining how Penney treated customers with respect and kindness, going so far as to remember the names of customers who only appeared once or twice a year. He explained how his grandfather lived with one simple rule: “Do unto others as they do unto you.”

Keny-Guyer opened by saying she was honored to be in Kemmerer, representing 12 grandchildren of Penney and 21 great-grandchildren, and even more great-great-grandchildren to come. She thanked everyone involved in the organization of the event. She told of Penney’s impoverished childhood, his perseverance, and his commitment to the Golden Rule. She explained that he made the J.C. Penney credit card, the first card to be given to women without their husbands’ permission.

She then went on to quote Penney, stating: “Life is tremendously rich and full, and it really rests with us, how much we get out of it. There is but one way. We get back in riches in proportion to what we give. The great thing to learn, then, is to give.”

Afterward, Professor David Kruger, author of “J.C. Penney: The Man, the Store, and American Agriculture,” gave attendees a glimpse into Penney’s personal life. He said Penney cared about Kemmerer, coming back to town every chance he got. He said that, if he were alive today, at the age of 147, he would still care for the well-being of Kemmerer. He also gave thanks to current representation of the company and Kemmerer store.

Lincoln County Commissioner Jerry Hansen spoke, saying it was a pleasure to be at the event and he was “more than thankful” to honor the legacy of James Cash Penney.

Mayor Bill Thek made an appearance, explaining how a Texas J.C. Penney office didn’t have enough room for the statue of Penney and asked if it could be moved to Kemmerer. Through the donations of the community, funding from the city council, and a very generous grant from the J.C. Penney HCSC Alumni Club, with big thanks from Steve Strom, they managed to get thousands of dollars to transfer the statue from Texas to Kemmerer.

It’s only been two years since the statue was moved to Triangle Park, and they managed to get plaques with quotes from Penney himself engraved on them within the last couple of days.

Following Thek’s speech, attendees enjoyed a community picnic, with members of the Kemmerer City Council serving the food.