Four inducted into Red Wing Women’s Hall of FameThere is one thing that all four of this year’s Women’s Network Hall of Fame inductees have in common.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
There is one thing that all four of this year’s Women’s Network Hall of Fame inductees have in common.
“Every time there’s a new initiative, one of them is involved somehow,” Women’s Network co-chair Donna Dummer said.
Red Wing residents Neela Mollgaard, Joan Foot, Pam Horlitz and the late Helen Bell were recognized Wednesday at a luncheon at the St. James Hotel.
“We have very, very deserving women,” Dummer said.
After growing up on the East Coast, Joan Foot moved to Red Wing, husband Buck’s hometown, in 1977.
She worked as a substitute teacher at Burnside Elementary School while raising her three children, “who clearly had no idea what all she was doing while she was raising us,” Foot’s daughter Ellie Kelly said Wednesday.
Over the years, Foot served on the local technical college board and spent 10 years on the Red Wing School Board, where she was “very active in building the new high school,” Kelly said. Foot was also partly responsible for getting the eagle sculpture installed in the school’s front locker bay.
From 1995 to 2005 Foot was on the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and served as chair for two years.
In addition, Foot worked with the Red Wing Police Department to raise awareness about bike helmet safety — the “bane of my existence,” Kelly joked, adding that she was a fifth-grader at the time.
Foot also served on the broadband task force, which worked to bring fiber optic cable to Red Wing. She is currently the chair of the board for the CARE Clinic.
“It’s embarrassing,” Foot said after receiving her award. “There are so many people in this room who have done as much as me or more and are more deserving. But it’s lovely.”
Pam Horlitz’s community involvement stretches from health to education, and from civic groups to communitywide celebrations.
“It doesn’t seem to matter what she’s involved in, she goes all the way,” friend Karlyne Bottin said. “Giving to the community seems to be a natural thing for her.”
Horlitz works as a community specialist for Mayo Clinic Health System. Live Healthy Red Wing, Chemical Health Initiative and the Red Wing Family YMCA are just a few of the health-related community organizations that Horlitz works with.
She is also an active Elks Club member. Bottin shared Wednesday how Horlitz works each year to raise funds to send underprivileged Red Wing children to the Elks’ summer camp in Nisswa, Minn.
In the last 10 years, Horlitz has spearheaded two large community festivals: Red Wing’s sesquicentennial in 2007 and the Grand Excursion in 2004.
On Wednesday, Horlitz wiped away tears as she accepted her award.
“People won’t remember what we do,” she said, “it’s how we make them feel.”
In January 2010, Red Wing’s CARE Clinic officially opened its doors. Neela Mollgaard was instrumental in getting the free clinic off the ground.
“I think that’s touched more people than we know,” Mollgaard’s friend and neighbor Dee Bender said.
Mollgaard also is active with Girls on the Run of Bluff Country and Women Cents. She served on the Red Wing School Board and sits on the Jones Family Foundation Board.
She is currently serving on the executive committee for Goodhue County Habitat’s Women Build and is volunteering with Red Wing Ignite, which is working toward fostering technological advances in the community.
“I think many of you in this room are probably the recipient of some of the work Neela has done,” Bender said.
“I am very, very humbled,” Mollgaard said accepting her certificate, adding that she is thankful for the compassion and generosity of Red Wing’s residents.
“Just thank you, very much,” she said.
Bell, who passed away Feb. 11, was honored posthumously.
A nurse and educator, Bell was director of the Red Wing School of Practical Nursing and, after what is now Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical was established, was the director of nursing there.
Bell was a local historian and conducted interviews of several older Red Wing residents to record their stories. She was also charter member No. 109 of the Red Wing Collector’s Society.
Evy Wedde, representing Southeast Tech, spoke about Bell during the Wednesday ceremony and read excerpts from the R-E’s Feb. 13 article on Bell.