A labor of love and legacy by Lois Bolin, Ph.D., Old Naples Historian

A labor of love and legacy during Women’s History Month Every year during March, thousands of events are held throughout the country to acknowledge and recognize the accomplishments of women. It began in 1980 as a weeklong celebration and by 1987 was expanded by a Congressional resolution to an entire month, making March our National Women’s History Month.

This Resolution was accomplished due to the groundwork established from a long line of duty bound women like Abigail Adams. On March 31, 1776, Mrs. Adams wrote to her husband, and warned, “If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

With much love and admiration wrapped in a shroud of fear, her husband, John Adams, wrote, “We have only the name of masters,
and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat.”

Adams, who served as Secretary of State, Ambassador, Vice President, and President during his lifetime, noted that his counterpart had many virtues as a wife and mother. Today history shows that she left her influences on the development of the new country born within her lifetime. Mr. Adams wrote that she was a friend, whom he consulted in every aspect of public affairs; and she never failed to “partake of that happy harmony, which prevailed in her character; in which intuitive judgment was blended with consummate prudence…”

Generational Influences
The Naples community hosts many accomplished women who have achieved much by overriding belief systems with consummate
prudence. Mrs. Adams would be so proud.

Angela Melvin, founder of Valerie’s House, lost her mom, Valerie Melvin, in an automobile accident in Ft. Myers in 1987. Her mom
was 33 years old and left behind a loving husband and two small children, including a ten year old, Angela. After her journalism
career in Washington D.C. Angela moved back to Ft. Myers, with a void in her life. She knew she wanted to volunteer with
grieving children, but there were very few resources where children could connect and heal together. That void was filled with the
establishment of Valerie’s House, whose mission is to help children and families work through the loss of a loved one together and go
on to live fulfilling lives. ValeriesHouse.org

Rosemary Zore is the founder of the Robert L. Zore Foundation and The Fallen Officers. They support the families and departments of police officers that have been killed in the line of duty across the United States. Her inspiration came from a real-life experience when she was seven years old. Her father, Robert L. Zore, was killed in the line of duty on Christmas Day 1983. Today she pays tribute to her father through the foundation whose mission is to honor the sacrifice of fallen officers, to remember their families and to unite the community with law enforcement. The FallenOfficers.com

Lori Stillwagon Roman is the founder of The Ann Children’s Fund, which assists adoptive families of children with special medical needs. This labor of love and legacy came from her mom, Ann Stillwagon whose motto was: “do your best to make the world a better place.” She learned from her mom’s caring and compassion through a variety of activities such as leading a Girl Scout troop
for girls with Down Syndrome and kitchen table translation of children’s books into braille for the visually impaired.

A Woman’s Work
The diary, A Midwife’s Tale: The life of Martha Ballard (1785-1812), was overlooked for many years, yet holds great insights today on life during post-Revolutionary times and reminds me of many notable women in our community both past and present. “A womans work is never Done as the Song says and happy she whose strength holds out to the End of the rais [race].” How true these words were then and today

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