Jenene Justice is an active community volunteer, most recently working with with Take Me Home Pet Rescue, an animal rescue nonprofit in Richardson. Justice grew up in Preston Hollow and attended George B. Dealey Montessori, Franklin Middle School and Hillcrest High School. She later worked for oil and gas consulting firm DeGoyler and MacNaughton before “retiring.” We caught up with Justice in her eclectic home to talk about her past and the present.
You’ve lived in Preston Hollow for 62 years. Are your parents from here, too?
Yes, they are. When I was born, they took me home to their house on Azalea Lane. I don’t mind thinking I’m 62. I still think I’m 25 [bats eyelashes].
How long did you work at DeGolyer and MacNaughton?
I was a secretary to the senior vice president. I worked for 15 men for 23 years. When I left there, I took a fat stack of money with me. They had a profit sharing trust where they would match money. You’d get bonuses, and they’d just fund your retirement. It was the best company in the land. I mean, I did love the guys I worked for, the friends I made and the company. But who wants to work?
Why did you retire early?
I had to retire at 53 because I basically was not born to work. I always had this thing that I wanted to do something for someone else. And I didn’t know what it was. I have a good husband. He said, “I wonder why you waited this long to ask me if you could quit your job?”
You said you raised money for “Santa Cops” each year you were at DeGolyer.
My brother is a retired police lieutenant, and my nephew is in the police academy right now. I called the police department one day and asked if they could use donations. I just printed up fliers and put them in the lunchroom at DeGolyer and put out a donation jar. If I didn’t like how the jar was looking, I would go to everybody’s office and say, “Are you going donate something?” We’d get $4,000-$5,000, and three or four of my buddies at work would go shopping and get toys for the Santa Cops to come and take. They loved me. The coolest part was one year I got to go on a ride with the police and see the look on those children’s faces when they got the toys. It was awesome.
When did you start volunteering?
Santa Cops. It was the first time I realized I was good at asking people for money for someone else [laughs].
Where do you spend your time volunteering now?
Take Me Home Pet Rescue in Richardson. They rescue dogs and cats and pull them from kill shelters when their time is up. They work in conjunction with another group that pulls dogs off the streets in South Oak Cliff. They pay for all the vetting and put them in temporary foster homes where they learn to live with kids and other animals. Recently, 50 Maltese dogs were dumped out off the beaten track and they were puppy mill dogs, their fur was matted to their skin. They had never been out on grass, and Take Me Home has five of them. Their teeth were in terrible condition. They are particularly tough rescues because they have to be taught how to be a dog and housetrained and socialized with other humans.
What prompted you to start volunteering with Take Me Home?
I knew the founders for two or three years, two housewives that started the group. I don’t work and I don’t “do lunch,” and it’s not like I sit on the couch and eat bonbons. I think we are all meant to help others if we are able, and if we don’t we are going to regret it someday.
What’s next for you?
I’m heading up a silent auction fundraiser on Dec. 8 for the group. It’s the big fundraiser because it brings in the money so they can hopefully sustain.
What do you like most about fundraising?
Knowing that no matter how much work there is to do, and no matter how long it takes, at the end of the event, when I see the dollar amount, I know it was all worth it.
Visit takemehomepetresuce.com to find information about the silent auction and where to buy tickets.
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