2015 Year In Review
December 2014 – Our Christmas buffet was held at TPC Southwind. Linda Buckles, President, TFRW, installed our 2015 officers in a beautiful candlelight ceremony. Our members donated 39 Teddy Bears to the Memphis Child Advocacy Center’s Teddy Bears for Kids Program.
January – Six of our Super Seven State Legislators were special guest speakers at our first luncheon meeting of the year and discussed the Governor’s proposal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee. The 2015 Board was introduced.
February – Prior to our meeting, we held a reception to express our appreciation and say thank you for their years of service to Justin Joy and Peggy Larkin, outgoing Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the SCRP. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell attended and presented both with proclamations. Justin Joy spoke at our meeting and gave an overview of the Chairman’s responsibilities, followed by the two candidates for Chairman, Mary Wagner and Arnold Weiner. The two candidates then presented their qualifications and plans to improve the party if elected. The 40th annual Lincoln Day Gala was held
February 7 at the Holiday Inn at University of Memphis, with Congressman Rick Crawford, 1st Congressional District, Arkansas, as special guest speaker. Approximately 30 of our members attended with 10 acting as department chairs and volunteers for this successful event. Two of our members received awards: Gayle Bennett for RWOP Member of the Year and Sharon Ohsfeldt who received the Thelma Williams Headquarters Volunteer Award. Several of our board members attended the TFRW Board Meeting on February 14 in Nashville.
March – Celebrating the importance of membership and 10 years as a Federated Club was the theme of our March meeting. Former presidents were recognized, commemorative pins were handed out to members and the audience was presented with a history of the RWOP, TFRW and the NFRW. We held an exciting “mock presidential primary” which involved the entire audience. This was followed by a fashion show and door prizes. Many of our members were delegates and precinct chairmen at the Shelby County convention and helped elect Mary Wagner as our party chair. Twenty-five of our members attended Ladies Day on the Hill. Congressman Marsha Blackburn was our luncheon speaker, followed by the program in the TN House Chamber that included a panel discussion led by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey and concluded with dinner at the Germantown Café where we were joined by several of our legislators and other guests.
April – Our speaker was John Ryder, RNC General Counsel, who educated us on Presidential Primaries, Debates and Conventions. Our annual rummage sale, held April 16-18, raised over $5,000 which allowed us to make a $1500 donation to the SCRP; $1400 to the Iris Fund (a fund which goes to Republican candidates for House and Senate in the General Election); $1000 to the West TN Veterans Home; Family Safety Center, Alpha Omega, Child Advocacy Center, and the Salvation Army Senior Angel Tree Project. Items not sold were donated to the Salvation Army.
May – “Cinco de Mayo” was the theme of our May meeting and we were honored to host Mauricio Calvo, Executive Director, Latino Memphis and Shawn Roberson, Director, Policy, Advocacy & Civic Engagement, as our speakers. On May 4, many of our members attended the Women of Distinction 2015, in support of Congressman Marsha Blackburn, with special guest speaker, Laura Ingraham. On May 30, several of our members attended the annual TNGOP Statesmen’s Dinner in Nashville featuring special guest speaker former Governor Jeb Bush.
June – This was our month to honor Republicans’ Brightest Stars. Our special guests were Don Johnson, Young Republican Federation State Chairman; Ryan Haynes, Chairman of the TN Republican Party; and Mary Wagner, Chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party. The meeting took place at Halle Plantation Clubhouse, featured a barbeque buffet with all the trimmings and was well attended by many local and state officials. The Area 9 Convention was held June 6 for the purpose of electing an Area Vice President and to take up any other business the Convention delegates deem appropriate. RWOP had 20 delegates/alternates and is happy to report our own Peggy Larkin was re-elected to serve another two years.
July – No meeting was held in July due to the July 4 holiday. On July 28, most of our members did attend a ladies night out – “Bubbles and Pearls” – to honor Maida Pearson Smith, the first woman party chair in Shelby County, and was held at Devonshire Gardens Clubhouse. Money was collected through the Republican Clubs in Shelby County to reach our goal of $500 to have Maida Pearson Smith’s name engraved on the TN Woman Suffrage Monument to be erected on the War Memorial Plaza near the State Capitol in Nashville. This monument will be a tribute to the work done by TN suffragists, who worked so hard to secure ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Thirty-six states were needed for the ratification; TN was the 36th state.
August – No meeting was held in August due to so many on vacation. Many of us did attend the August 6 SCRP Debate Watch party; some went to hear Ted Cruz speak on his August 11 visit to Memphis. Also, many of our members attended the annual Master Meal, hosted by the East Shelby Republican Club; honored guests were Congressman Stephen Fincher, John Ryder, National Party Advisor, Ryan Haynes, State Party Chairman, Mark Norris, State Senator, Mark Luttrell, County Mayor and Mary Wagner, Chairman, SCRP.
September – NFRW National Literacy Month – our special guest speaker this month was David Montague, head of the Memphis Teacher Residency, a faith-based four-year teacher preparation program for prospective teachers interested in working in local, urban, high-needs schools. Peter Abell, Executive Director, Shelby County Books from Birth (an affiliate of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library) also spoke to us about this program. RWOP made presentations of student dictionaries and a book on Ronald Reagan to three schools; Senator Brian Kelsey presented each school with a flag flown over the Capitol Building and a Blue Book. We also made donations to: the National Pathfinder Scholarship Fund; the Dorothy Kabis Internship Fund; and the Betty Rendel Scholarship Fund. Barbara Trautman and Millie Gump attended the NFRW 38th Biennial Convention in Phoenix, AZ, featured speakers were: Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Janet Huckabee and Cindy McCain. Campaign Committee member Barbara Trautman, presented the Campaign Volunteer Awards. TN was the winning state in the medium size state category. Campaign Volunteer hours submitted by RWOP helped in large part for TN winning. Barbara was also a presenter for the Boots on the Ground workshop. RWOP again won a Diamond Award – the highest club award – which we have won at every NFRW convention since 2007. RWOP won a Silver Award in 2005, a prestigious feat for a club that had only been in existence for six months. Several of our members worked as volunteers in the local elections, from early voting all the way through the run-offs.
October – Our speaker this month was Mike Carpenter, Executive Director of the Plough Foundation who spoke about the Plough Foundation’s “Aging Initiative”, the most pressing issues facing older citizens in Shelby County. Rieta Selberg and Linda Miller presented details on our Caring for America/Christmas Project – the Salvation Army’s Angels and Forgotten Angel Trees for Seniors. Twenty RWOP members attended the TFRW Convention on October 23-24, the largest participation of any club, we’re even prouder to say one of our members, Barbara Trautman, was elected First Vice President for TFRW at this convention and another, Peggy Larkin was re-elected as the TFRW Area 9 Vice President. We also were the recipient of five prestigious awards for all our work: Diamond Achievement Award for 2014-15 – for recognition of accomplishments in 2014-15 to promote NFRW and the Republican Party; Muffet Brock Award of Commendation 2014-15 – For outstanding dedication in the promotion of Republican principles in the Areas of Membership Education, Campaign Involvement, General Political Activity and Club Promotion; Caring for America 2014-15 – Certificate of Participation; Barbara McAndrew IRIS Fund Certificate of Appreciation – In grateful recognition of the continuing financial support; Campaign Volunteer Hours – 50,463 Hours – Certificate of Achievement in recognition of campaign volunteer hours. RWOP and SCRWC presented a proposal to host the 2017 TFRW Convention – which was approved by the TFRW Board will be held in Memphis. Peggy Larkin was appointed Convention Chairman.
November – We celebrated our beloved veterans and were honored to have as our speaker Captain Roy Cash, USN, Retired who presented such an inspirational and emotional account of his service – and what a grand finish he had with a tribute to the “Ragged Old Flag” which bought tears to many an eye. Each veteran attending was presented with a thank-you card and patriotic pin. RWOP presented donations to Cordell Walker of Alpha Omega for their service to veterans and to Holly Swogger, President and Board Chairman of the West TN Veterans Home, towards the construction of the new Veterans Home in West TN. Donations were presented to Linda Miller towards our Salvation Army Angels Tree Christmas Project. We elected new officers for 2016.
December – Our Christmas Buffet Luncheon and installation of 2016 officers was held at TPC Southwind. Linda Miller announced that RWOP had contributed over $1400 in donations plus many personal items for the Salvation Army’s Angels and Forgotten Angel Trees for Seniors. A Leadership Training Program of all incoming officers was completed.
Republican Women of Purpose (RWOP) with 171 regular members and 41 Associate Members holds the distinction of being the largest federated club in the state. In addition, eight of our members serve on the Republican Party of Shelby County Steering Committee; five serve on the TN Republican Party State Executive Committee; two serve as alderman; six serve on the TFRW State Board or a Committee; and one is on the National Board of the NFRW. One of our members was re-elected as TFRW Area 9 VP for 2016-17; another member was elected to serve as TFRW First VP for 2016-17; she was also named National Federation of Republican Women’s Campaign Chair.