[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                     March 27, 2009
Observances

Women's History speaker 
talks about Sparta

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

Sparta has many local connections and even a national connection to help forward the lives of women in the United States, said Holly Grady.

Photo: Holly Grady, executive director of the Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce, was the guest speaker at Fort McCoy’s Women’s History Month observance. Grady spoke about the history of women in the area and Sparta’s relationship with Fort McCoy. (Photo by Val Hyde)
Holly Grady, executive director of the Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce, was the guest speaker at Fort McCoy’s Women’s History Month observance. Grady spoke about the history of women in the area and Sparta’s relationship with Fort McCoy. (Photo by Val Hyde)

Grady, the executive director of the Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce, was the guest speaker at Fort McCoy’s observance of Women’s History Month March 12. She is responsible for the health of business relationships with their customers in the Sparta community, including with Fort McCoy personnel who live, work, conduct business, play, etc., in the community.

"Women have heard they can’t do things because they’re a woman, because they’re weak, etc.," Grady said. "During Women’s History Month, we celebrate their accomplishments, endeavors and passion."

President Barack Obama recently signed a proclamation designating March as Women’s History Month. The White House Web site http://www.whitehouse.gov has the text of the proclamation, which has many interesting facts pertaining to women.

The city of Sparta has some very interesting history of women. Kathryn Frederick Clarenbach, who graduated from Sparta High School at the age of 16 in 1937, reached national prominence when she helped co-found the National Organization for Women in 1966, Grady said.

Throughout her career, Clarenbach advocated for the rights of women, including shaping and changing laws regarding marital properties, divorce, sexual assault and equal pay for men and women.

"Women have played prominent roles in economic, social and political (realms), etc.," Grady said. "They have been leaders, not only for women’s rights, but for social causes, such as supporting abolitionists, emancipation, Civil Rights and peace."

About a year ago, a group of local women from Sparta presented an idea for a project to highlight Clarenbach’s family and formative years, a national and local timeline, and other exhibits.

Students from a Sparta Charter School, Chole Miller Hansen, Alison Toetz and Emily Culver, worked on the project. The project is serving as a traveling exhibit until a more permanent home can be found in Monroe County Local History Room, Grady said.

"We want people to know about this amazing Sparta woman," said Miller Hansen. "Sparta has more than one hometown hero. We think Kay (Clarenbach) should be as well known as our local astronaut, Deke Slayton."

Grady said Sparta is grateful for its relations with Fort McCoy and its personnel, including the signing of the Army Community Covenant to pledge mutual support to each other in July 2008.

During the ceremony, it was noted that the Army Community Covenant recognizes that familial strength emanates, in large part, from the support of the local communities. Grady said it is the chamber’s mission to bring everyone together.

The chamber informs its members of Fort McCoy news and events by publishing information from the Public Affairs Office in its chamber newsletter and also is interested in telling stories of Fort McCoy’s personnel to the local businesses.

For more information, call Grady at 608-269-4123.

 

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