The United Federated Republican Women (UFRW), a local chapter of the Missouri Federated Republican Women, has received the organization's highest state level recognition, the Diamond Award, for 2020.
The award is based on 2019 achievements and given for outstanding completion of activities and goals as outlined by the state organization
"The women in the group that work so hard are the ones that deserve the recognition," said local chapter President Cindy Temple.
The state organization was established in 1930, and, according to the National Federated Republican Women, predates the national chapter, as state chapters were organized as early as the late 1800s and national organization of independent clubs was accomplished in 1938.
The UFRW was established in August 2009 and currently has about 30 members.
Locally, a $750 Liberty Scholarship has been awarded by UFRW to at least one senior girl each year since 2015. The scholarship was first established in honor of Debbie Bridges, a UFRW member who died in 2014. Another $750 Liberty Scholarship was later added in memory of former member April Mayfield, who died in 2018.
Club scholarships and financial support of charities are funded by private donations, Temple said. The group is not allowed to form a political action committee (PAC) or give money to candidates, so any money raised goes back into Howell County charities, she explained.
In 2019, monetary contributions and community service projects carried out by the club included assembling care baskets for West Plains R-7 Bridges, hosting Breakfast with Santa, providing diaper bags and supplies for Open Door Pregnancy Center, donations to On Time Ministry for the fight against child trafficking, and books purchased for the West Plains Public Library.
The UFRW also provided flag ceremonies and information on flag retirement etiquette, and installed or repaired sinks, bathroom toilets, showers, fixtures and kitchen plumbing for Salutes, a local organization and shelter for homeless veterans. Hygiene supplies were also provided for each resident.
Since the Breakfast with Santa event has been turned over to the Boys and Girls Club this year, the group will instead do a Christmas project for Salutes by purchasing gifts for residents, Temple said.
In support of Republican candidates, UFRW helped organize town hall meetings for all candidates running for the Missouri senate, plus events for the reelection campaigns of Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and Gov. Mike Parson.
Since the group is not allowed to make monetary contributions to campaigns, members volunteer by arranging campaign stops, manning booths at the fairgrounds during election years and advocating for candidates in other ways.
UFRW also helped prepare and staff the Howell County Republican headquarters, and decorated for and helped organize Howell County Lincoln Days.
The club meets at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of every month except December and July at Ostermeier Brewing Company, 1872 South U.S. 63. Meetings are preceded by a social hour to give members a chance to order food and have a casual visit before the meeting is called to order, and members are not required to attend every month, Temple added.