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Rosie the Riveters are recognized

As summer has passed us by, Our Town, Inc. has many community groups and individuals to thank and recognize for making the summer 2021 program Our Nation, Our People, Our Town a success.

First there are the downtown businesses and groups that donated window spaces and created window displays to commemorate our national holidays and local events which served as a summer window museum to remind us who we were and who we are.

Appreciation goes to the following for their visual displays: Beverly Elementary School students, Davis & Elkins College Art Department, Davis & Elkins College Black Student Union with strong support from the Old Brick Playhouse staff and Vince Trimboli, Emma Scott Garden Club, John Hart Chapter of the DAR, Log Cabin Quilters, Mountain Heart Community Services, Elkins Middle School Social Studies students, Randolph County School Elementary students, West Virginia Railroad Museum and Discovery Center, The Inter-Mountain and Papa John’s Coloring Contest and our own volunteers Vickie Keller, Priscilla Gay, Betsy Smith, Richard Smith, Linda Shomo and special advisor, TJ Cogar, for developing their own displays.

Then there are those who opened their windows to us which included: Jerry and Martha Metheny, Citizens Bank of West Virginia, Tom and Sherry Hammer, Mamma Mia Pie and Pasta, TD’s Classic Tees, Byrd’s House of Donuts and Third Street Dollar General. There are also the Our Town members who donated time to wash windows and clean store fronts. These are exceptional people.

The open house that was to occur with our window display and a Children’s Parade was rained out on May 28, but all participants agreed to repeat the activity on June 17. The evening began with children and families being hosted at the Randolph County Community Arts Center for lantern making, and later joining members of the Highlanders of Davis & Elkins College, missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints and the color guard of American Legion Post 20, who led a group of happy, flag-waving children to the corner of Third Street and Davis Avenue, where Mayor Jerry Marco welcomed the community, invited them to see the window displays and performed a ribbon cutting.

Our Town members were posted at windows to answer questions. It took many volunteers to make the evening happen. Thanks to each and everyone of these mentioned and the community who turned out in support.

The finale event was to be the Rosie the Riveter celebration on Labor Day, which would have included a cast of over 40 performers who had been preparing for this day. Even though the major production had to be canceled because of increasing COVID-19 numbers, a lovely event was hosted at the Elkins Randolph Community Library on Sept. 3. Thank you to the library staff who were helpful and welcoming.

Abby Hohn created an excellent display that was open to the public to view on the upper level of the library. Mayor Marco presented congressional certificates to three Rosies, that included Tula Curkendall, Ruby Coberly and Julie Cassells along with certificates to families of four others.

Special recognition was also given to Mary Doris Brooks, a commissioned nurse during WWII, and the Log Cabin Quilters presented a Quilt of Valor to Rachel Pingley for her work as an air traffic controller for the US Air Force during the Korean War. The quilters who pieced this quilt did it with love and respect for Ms. Pingley’s service.

Corsages were prepared by Tammy’s Floral. Mayor Marco took extra time to visit with another local Rosie, Ruth Hepler, who resides at Lavender Fields, and met the families of Bobbie Lamb and Katherine Sayers on another date. Our Town appreciates Mayor Marco’s time and interest in this project.

Special appreciation to our volunteer, Linda Shomo, who contacted families and constructed many of the bios for these women. The Inter-Mountain staff that includes Steve Herron, Brad Johnson and Edgar Kelley deserve praise for the coverage of the event and willingness to continue printing the information about these women who were so vital to the war effort.

Lastly, to the Rosies and families who let us into their lives for a glimpse of this time in history. Your time and stories were important to us.

The cruise-ins and the Thursday night summer concerts are other Our Town events. Appreciation should be extended to those instrumental in this process which includes the Car Club, local sponsors and Doug Starcher who has planned the concerts since their inception. The Fourth of July activities were outstanding and, again, involved a host of volunteers.

As fall begins, the public will see scarecrows and a new addition, fall leaves, lining the streets which, once again, reflect the talents of members of the community with the event being offered and organized by Our Town, Inc. and community sponsor.

Barbara Trimboli

and other

Our Town volunteers

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