KDSN RADIO News
Denison Native Returning for Book Signing
Jane Olson grew up in Denison in the 1950s. She said she used to spend countless hours at the library during her childhood. It is fitting that she would return to the library for her own book signing. Olson is the author of World Citizen: Journeys of a Humanitarian. In it, she details the hope and light found amongst suffering in some of the worst war zones and impoverished locations around the world. She begins the book with her humble beginnings. Olson described her hometown of Denison as having two of everything. She recalled there were two drug stores, two jewelry stores, two shoe stores, and two movie theaters. She remembered going to the movie theater and watching the newsreels before the movies.
“And in those days we used to have black and white newsreels that preceded the double feature movies, usually cowboy and Indian movies on Saturdays. And the newsreels would feature scenes from war zones like Korea, the Korean War was raging. And I saw on the newsreel men holding microphones and talking into a camera while bombs were going off behind, and I thought that looked like a fabulous and exciting place to work.”
Olson wanted to be like the war correspondents she saw on the big screen. After turning 15 she got a job at the Denison Bulletin and Review. After graduating from high school in 1960 she went on to the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She was an investigative journalist in Iowa, Nebraska, and Michigan. After raising her three children and years of volunteer work in her community, she began her world travels and used her journalistic knowledge to document stories of survivors of war, disease, and extreme poverty. She has worked as a volunteer for many decades to promote justice and peace, with a focus on the common humanity that ties everyone together. She chaired the International Board of Trustees of Human Rights Watch and served as the co-chair of the Women’s Refugee Commission. Olson was the founding board chair of Landmine Survivors Network/Survivor Corps, and she gave her leadership to them for 12 years. She has traveled to places such as Nicaragua and El Salvador during the Contra Wars, to the former Soviet Union, and to Ukraine. Then to the former Yugoslavia during the “ethnic cleansing” of Bosnia, and to many other countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. Her work focused on human rights abuse and refugee conditions, landmines, HIV/AIDS, and other disasters caused by conflict and extreme poverty.
“I used my training as an investigative journalist and photographer, and I took detailed notes everywhere I went. I took a lot of photographs, primarily focusing on the stories of the people that I met. Survivors of hideous war crimes and circumstances that I found inspirational.”
Olson said she is excited to come back to Denison. She comes back about twice a year with her husband, Ron. She also said she has deep ties to KDSN. Her mother worked at KDSN after her father passed away.
“When I saw KDSN come up in my email, I was so excited. Because Walt Morrison, who founded that radio station in Denison, was my neighbor. And in the chapter “Growing up in Iowa” I have quite a long passage about Walt and Leila Morrison. And how influential they were to me, what role models they were to me.”
She hopes for a good turnout at the book signing, which will be on Monday, May 8th, at 6 pm at the library. She looks forward to sharing her stories and will be selling books, as well as autographing them.
(Photo Credit: www.worldcitizenthebook.com)