Thursday, March 27, 2014

'Rosie the Riveters' Headed to Washington, D.C. to Meet Vice President Joe Biden

AFTER WRITING LETTERS to the White House for many years, Phyllis Gould of Fairfax and four other Rosie the Riveters are set to fly Saturday to Washington, D.C. to meet Vice President Joe Biden.

Gould, 92, worked as a welder at the Kaiser Richmond shipyards during World War II and has been writing letters since 2008 petitioning elected officials to recognize the contributions of Rosies such as herself. Biden invited the Rosies to the White House in October. The visit was made possible by a fundraising campaign that began late last year.


Gould said the group is excited to embark on their upcoming adventure

"We'll see the vice president on Monday and because we just learned about it, the other plans aren't scheduled yet," Gould said. "We'll be there a full week."

A meeting with Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, various luncheons and other activities are tentatively scheduled.

Huffman said he's looking forward to seeing all the Rosies in the nation's capital.

"We talked to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Pelosi is inviting them over to the Capitol for a little ceremony to be recognized in front of members of Congress," Huffman said.

This won't be the first time Huffman has met Gould.

"Phyllis is a dynamo. She came into my office a couple of months ago and we talked for 45 minutes about anything and everything. She's the most engaging and interesting person," Huffman said.

Gould will be accompanied by her draftsman sister Marian Sousa, 87, of El Sobrante; Marian Wynn, 87, of Fairfield; Kay Morrison, 90, of Fairfield; and Priscilla Elder, 93, of Pinole. All have volunteered at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park visitors center in Richmond.

Each Rosie also will be traveling with a helper. Gould and her sister enlisted their daughters to make the journey with them, making the trip a family affair.

"I'm really looking forward to it because I haven't had much time with my daughter in the past few years," Gould said.

The Rosies were able to collect money to support their trip thanks to the Rosie the Riveter Trust, which used its nonprofit status to allow the collection of individual donations by the five Rosies and their assistants.

National Park Service rules forbid the Richmond park's active participation in sending the Rosies to Washington, D.C., and tax rules prevent the five from collecting donations themselves. So the trust has been a crucial partner.

Marsha Mather-Thrift, executive director of the Rosie the Riveter Trust, said more than 125 people and companies donated $34,000 to the trip. The funds not used for the trip will be used by the trust to "tell the stories of other Rosies who couldn't go and who reflect Rosie diversity and integration of the workforce," she said.

"The outpouring from people was magnificent," Mather-Thrift said. "I'm tremendously excited for them. I think they are ambassadors doing this on behalf of Rosies around the country."

Virgin America, whose donation isn't included in the $34,000 raised, and Kaiser Permanente are large contributors to the fundraising effort.

Virgin America will host a special red carpet send-off at the departure gate at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday morning and has donated premium seats for the trip.

Gould said she can't wait to meet Biden.

"He wants to have time to talk to us and get to know us," she said.


See the original article here.

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