Memorial celebrates the women of Holly, past and present • Oakland County Times

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Memorial celebrates Holly’s women, past and present

Memorial celebrates Holly’s women, past and present

(Crystal A. Proxmire, September 19, 2021)

Holly, MI – A new memorial at the Village of Holly’s Waterworks Park honors 100 women – from today’s hardworking heroines to community history. The effort arose out of a research project by local historian Joe Mishler and the organizational efforts of Holly ACTS (Action, Community Transformation, Solidarity), working with the village and other groups to gather information, create plaque and clean up the park so that visitors can see and enjoy the Shiawassee River.

Included are the women who shaped local government, the library, Holly Area Youth Assistance, suffragists, women business leaders, philanthropists, and those who served in the military or as first responders. A recent unveiling ceremony saw dozens of visitors braving the hot and humid morning to celebrate and reflect.

“As the research began, it became clear that the list was going to be long,” said organizer Kristin Koppa-Watt, founder of Holly ACTS and owner of the recently opened Thoughtful Threads store. “At some point throughout During the trip, a comment was made that we might have TOO MANY women on the list, but I’m saying… over the course of 183 years, 80-100 women won’t be enough and won’t even surface.

“Then it became evident that we still have so many women alive who have and continue to do so much in all kinds of specters. Why the hell would we wait until someone is gone to congratulate them, validate their service, and let them know how wonderful they are?

“So this event became part of this plan. We sincerely thank each of you for being here today to celebrate each other and our community. “

The discussion began between Mishler talking to Watt about his research project on Holly’s historical women, including Elizabeth “Ma” Parry who ran the Lakeview maternity home out of her home in the 1950s. “Her story and the selfless work she’s dedicated her life to here at Holly touched me so much that I left there with this need to know more, “said Watt.

“Some examples of women who transformed Holly are Martha Alger, Phoebe Divine who started the George Washington Club, Elizabeth Ma Parry whom I mentioned earlier, Winifred Mott A suffragist and activist of the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement, Joyce Slaughter who was treasurer of Rose Township for decades and helped start Headwater Trails with Sue Julian and Sherlyn Everly, Elizabeth Hamilton who performed interpretive and educational plays for festivals, Maxine Howe who was a justice of the peace and served on Holly’s village council in the 1950s and 1960s, Martha Alexander who was a life member of the Holly chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, Dorothy Alice Garant who worked for Holly Volunteer Ambulance and a longtime school bus driver. She was one of the women known to help bake birthday cakes for children in the community, and a longtime Girl Scout leader. “

Watt also spoke about Rosemary Kelly, founder of the Rose Hill Center.

“Rosemary and her husband Dan are not from Holly, but they helped us market ourselves and develop the Rose Hill Center in the township behind the National Cemetery 30 years ago. Their son John was diagnosed with schizophrenia many years ago when therapies were not widely available. When they finally found a unique treatment center in Boston that helped their son, they decided to create a place for their son and hundreds of others over the past 30 years to receive cutting edge treatment and stabilization therapies for people with severe mental illness. . It is one of only 6 like this in the country and people come here from all over the country to seek hope and healing. Rosemary didn’t have a road for her son, so she created one for him and changed thousands of lives thanks to those she touched. They chose Holly as their place to do it and it is thriving today, ”she said.

Mishler’s portion of the presentation included stories from local women in the military. This included Amber Kier Ogg who graduated from Holly High School 2001. “In an effort to pay for her education, she joined the US military – the Michigan National Guard. She served with the military police unit from 1775. She was deployed to Iraq in May 2003. Her unit was protecting convoys that were the target of terrorists, ”he said.

“One day, while she was leading a convoy, her vehicle was struck by an IED. The explosion went through the side windows and missed Amber. The main explosion missed Amber, but not pieces. the team leader was injured and the gunner was killed. The vehicle stopped and Amber got out and engaged the enemy. At one point, she couldn’t see and thought it was dust and dirt. It was his blood.

“Wounded in combat, Amber would be released with a disability. She lost good friends in the action. She joined the long list of Holly’s who served and were wounded in combat. The scars and memories are permanent and Amber has paid a heavy price for serving her country.

He also spoke of Sarah Emma Edmunds who had left her home in Canada rather than being pressured into an unwanted marriage. She became a traveling bookseller and settled in Rose Twp, but felt drawn to becoming a soldier. She introduced herself as a man named Frank and successfully joined the 2sd Michigan Infantry to fight in the Civil War as a Union Soldier. She deserted when she caught malaria rather than being discovered, but when she recovered she returned to the war effort as a nurse.

“After the war, her war wounds bothered her. She went to a 2nd Michigan reunion in Flint and all was forgiven. Frank was well loved and respected. Desertion was wiped off the books and she received a pension of $ 12 per month and is the only woman buried in a national cemetery as a Civil War soldier, ”Mishler said.

Nicole Edwards Rankin shared a certain story, including the story of a time when women were not allowed to vote. She spoke about the successful women in her family and the milestones women have taken throughout history – such as her great-grandmother who was the only woman to serve on the Flint Grocers board in years. 1950, and his grandmother who was the first woman to hold a position as a man. to the AC spark plug.

“Despite all the progress we have made, there is still a long way to go. Gender norms are perpetuated by the division of labor inside and outside the home. Women always earn less money for the same jobs as a man. Highly qualified women are always overlooked for a position and a less qualified club member is hired instead, ”she said.

“Women are under-represented in politics. In Oakland County, there are only two villages with women council chairs, and there is only one village council made up of all women …

“I hope you leave today feeling inspired by the women listed on this memorial, by those who are here today, and by the women in your own life who have inspired you to do more.”

Speakers also included Police Chief Jerry Narsh, Fire Chief Steve Mcgee, Ina Golden of Hometown Heroes, Library Board Chair April Brandon, Dance Teacher Angie Broegman, City Councilor Ryan Delaney, Jennifer Shannon and Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin.


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