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Women's Network inducts three into hall of fame

Women's Network inducted Donna Dummer (left), Anne Jacobson and Jane Donkers into the Red Wing Women's Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

Donna Dummer clearly sees the path that led her from Brownie Scout leader to Red Wing mayor.

"I can do that," she recalls thinking when asked to lead second-grade girls.

She said something similar again and again as she served in various capacities in the schools, at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Red Wing, as a court-assigned guardian ad litem, on the Goodhue Welfare Board and more.

"Your own self-esteem builds," said Dummer, who served 2005-2008 as the city's second woman mayor. "What you do in the past leads you to your future."

She, Anne Jacobson and Jane Donkers were inducted Wednesday into the Red Wing Women's Hall of Fame. Women's Network sponsors the event.

Jacobson has worked at the Republican Eagle for 20 years, starting as a reporter and becoming editor seven years ago. She's served on the First Lutheran Church Council and Goodhue County AIDS Network, among others, including Red Cottage Montessori.

One of her passions, she said, is serving on Red Wing Community Education Advisory Council.

"The mission of lifelong learning fits in well with journalism and educating and informing readers," she said.

Presenters noted that Jacobson is the first female editor of the Red Wing Republican Eagle.

"The fact I don't define myself that way - and don't have to do so - is a testament to the women who paved the way here for me both here in Red Wing and around the world," she said after the meeting.

Donkers also represents a "first." She was the first woman director for Northwest/Norwest Bank, the predecessor to Wells Fargo in Red Wing. The board was looking for diversity at the time, so she joined a farmer and a host of businessmen.

"Here's my gold watch," she said, slipping it off her wrist and waving it to the delight of Women's Network.

She credited her parents with thinking and talking about education all the time - not just in the classroom but in everyday life. That drive led her to run for Red Wing School Board, serving three terms starting in 1974, and earlier completing bachelor's and master's degrees.

"Friends asked my parents, 'Why is Jane going to college? She graduated from high school. What more can she learn?'" said Donkers, eliciting gasps, hoots and rueful knowing smiles.

Her parents sent all five children to college, which was almost unheard of in the 1940s for farm families, she recalled. She chose Iowa State, and there her interest in civil involvement bloomed.

"My memorable moment was when I was student host to Eleanor Roosevelt for one day," Donkers said.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the sweetness of dreams," Donkers said, quoting Roosevelt. "I've had a lot of dreams here in Red Wing."