Sing Out about Our First UNsung Woman
Sponsored by ArtRoots, a Writer in Residence Project
January to June 2022
Submitted by Lee Ann Roberts
Part 1 of 3
Loreen Greene Mohr has been keeping members of our community well informed for more than 40 years. Even those who don’t recognize her name might be familiar with Loreen’s work as the Community Coordinator/Editorial Department for The Journal Times since 1981– a job in which she gathers, organizes and edits information submitted to the newspaper by people, organizations and businesses throughout Racine County and beyond.
Whether you are looking for the weekend’s entertainment lineup, information about area church services, programs and classes offered by various institutions, or the latest wedding and anniversary news, Loreen is your go-to source. She makes sure that such valuable information makes it into the print and online editions of the newspaper so that people of Racine County know what is going on in their community, every day.
It is a job that Loreen takes seriously, not only out of dedication to the newspaper’s mission, but out of loyalty to her home town. A lifelong resident of Racine, Loreen takes pride in her community and enjoys being able to share information about it with readers. In her 40-plus years at The Journal Times, she has built lasting relationships with a wide variety of people and organizations, earning herself a reputation in the community for being dedicated and dependable.
Loreen has also managed to expand and adapt her skills as the newspaper business has evolved over the years. In more recent times, as the paper’s staff decreased, she has taken on additional responsibilities and learned new technologies in order to continue her work of keeping the community informed. It is a job she does well, and one that is appreciated by people in and around Racine – even those who’ve never met her, or don’t know her name.
Do you know a woman who has benefited the community, county, an organization, a school, a church or more, but her contribution has not been acknowledged? As part of Racine’s ArtRoots Writer in Residence project for January to June, 2022, your written submission will be considered to recognize three more UNsung Women. Please refer to the information at the end of this posting.
Part 2 of 3
Starting the Golden Age of floats
By Jeanne Arnold
Floral paper, wood lathe and staple guns–those are items I recall when I remember my mother Mildred Arnold at 4th of July time.
Hot canned chicken soup in July for quick energy, laughter among people working together, tears under tension during deadline hours, exhaustion mixed with excitement when Racine’s Goodwill parade started to move. It was all worth it as crowds cheered our floats.
My mother was the spark that energized my dad, Barney, and relatives, friends and me into a team of float builders. They could take an artist’s concept from a sketch and make it live as a colorful, moving showpiece that stirred and entertained thousands.
In the beginning my mother and relatives spent winters making flowers out of crepe paper to decorate their first floats. Then they bought ready-made flowers and petal paper.
I was part of the action most of my life. When I was really young, I would play around them and nap on float paper in their boxes. When I was able to help, I’d fetch, fill staple guns, run errands, mind the shop, squeeze into spaces inside floats to pin and staple paper where no one else could fit. I was expected to help or to stay out of trouble after the parade when they dismantled each float.
I’d watch my mother work. Long float pins stuck on her loosely fitting blouse were ready to tack down a loose paper corner. Her fingertips were covered with masking tape for protection from the hundreds of pins she’d apply or staple to attach floral paper over lumber and chicken wire frames. She’d be dusty from crawling under float framework on factory floors, lumber yards and loading docks around the clock if necessary.
My mother and Edna Christensen were the only two women who served on the original Fourth of July Goodwill committee of 23 business and labor leaders to heal conflicts from many major strikes in Racine. Though I was just a kid, I remember being impressed when I saw her in a movie made at one of those meetings.
She was a vital woman, strong and determined. If a carpenter wouldn’t build to her specifications, she’d pick up her carpenter tools and do it herself. (Then there were few power tools and none to use where we worked.)
A warm and creative woman, she could build floats that turned a plodding old farm wagons into Cinderella’s carriage with its stallions when Progressive Dairy horses pulled those majestic floats.
A vulnerable woman, she endured long hours of labor, but her need for more energy could not be renewed indefinitely.
An effective leader, during WW II she led her crew to create inspiring patriotic floats like Betsy Ross with her 13-Star-Spangled Banner or the Liberty Bell. My dad was in the Navy then and when he returned, she retired and I was expected to decorate my first floats. I was 15. My first production featured a huge red rose to hold a beauty queen. Initially I didn’t think I could do it, but knowing I was Mildred Arnold’s daughter, I knew I would do it. That beautiful float was my tribute to her.
I have always gained strength by the positive inspiration of a mother such as mine. She died after a long illness and extensive hospitalization. With many images to remember her by, I like to remember her at her best–when she was Racine’s greatest float decorator and I was her daughter.
Part 3 of 3
UNsung Women: the Un-known Herstory History
Submit nominations about past or present women from Racine/Kenosha whose contributions to the wellbeing of our communities and beyond who have not or have been UNder acknowledged.
Four UNsung women nominees will be selected from March through June, 2022.
The nominator is to provide:
• answers to Who, What, When, Where and How details of your nominee’s herstory in a document or resume format.
• photographs, drawings, illustrations to enhance herstory;
• a reference person or documentation serving as evidence of proof.
Submit your nomination details to <mocourage.aol.com> with your name and where you may be reached.
Please do not nominate women who have already been “sung.”