4 Garden Club members honored in ‘Rosie’ ceremony

Submitted photos Ruth May Conner Hepler is pictured with Elkins Mayor Jerry Marco, who visited Lavender Fields to present her with her congressional certificate.

ELKINS — Four lifelong members of the Emma Scott Garden Club were recently honored during a Rosie the Riveter presentation.

Verla Katherine “Bobbie” Shreve Lamb was honored as a Rosie the Riveter. She was a sheet metal worker at the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Company in Baltimore, Maryland. She passed away on May 26, 2021. Lamb served as president of ESGC from 1981-83.

Ruth May Conner Hepler was a Rosie who worked in Waynesboro, Virginia at the Dupont factory, which produced nylon and rayon for parachutes. Hepler has been a long-time member of the garden club.

ESGC member Virginia Cassells was too young during World War II to work a traditional war job, but she served as a Rosie on the home front in a different way. While in high school, Virginia had a course called Normal Training which taught the basics of teaching. When teachers left for other wartime responsibilities, Virginia became a teacher at age 17 in a one-room rural school in Kossuth, Iowa, serving 16 students in a school with no central heat, no running water and outhouses for bathrooms.

Rachel Pingley, who served as garden club president from 1984-89, received a different type of award for being commissioned as an air traffic controller during the Korean War. The Quilt of Valor, which is bestowed on those women who actively served their country during war time, was created and presented by the Log Cabin Quilters.

Rachel Pingley is shown wrapped in her quilt, to Marco’s delight.

The ESGC salutes all these women for their service in the past and the future leaders they have become in their communities.

Rosie the Riveter was an allegorical cultural icon of World War II, representing the women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who joined the military.

Because the world wars were total wars, which required governments to utilize their entire populations to defeat their enemies, millions of women were encouraged to work in the industry and take over jobs previously done by men. During World War II, massive conscription of men led to a shortage of available workers and therefore a demand for labor which could be filled only by employing women.

Nearly 19 million women held jobs during World War II.

Rosie the Riveter is used as a symbol of American feminism and women’s economic advantage.

Verla Katherine ‘Bobbie’ Shreve Lamb is pictured with husband, Arnol.

Similar images of women war workers appeared in other countries such as Britain and Australia.

The idea of Rosie the Riveter originated in a song written in 1942 by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb.

Images of women workers were widespread in the media in formats such as government posters, and commercial advertising was heavily used by the government to encourage women to volunteer for wartime service in factories.

Rosie the Riveter became the subject and title of a Hollywood film in 1944.

Virginia Cassells


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