Laurel’s own Rosies

Did you know that Laurel has a chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association? These ladies were hard at work on the homefront during World War II, and we were extremely honored when they asked us to give a presentation last Saturday about what was happening in Laurel during that era.

Richard Friend, Kevin Leonard, and Pete Lewnes with the Rosies: Rena Van Buren, Lorraine Miller, and Wilma Foster.

We gave a brief year-by-year recap of various events, and then focused on three stories from the war years—including Kevin’s recent article about the civilian internees and prisoners of war held at Fort Meade. And for show and tell, Pete brought an array of artifacts from his massive Laurel memorabilia collection.

But it’s difficult to tell a more inspiring story than that of the Rosies themselves, and to have these three remarkable women present was truly an honor.

During the war, Rena Van Buren was a shell casing inspector who knew soldiers’ lives depended on her accurate work.

Lorraine Miller was a Department of Justice stenographer, who met her husband while volunteering at Laurel’s USO club (now American Legion Post 60).

And Wilma Foster worked as a riveter at Fairchild Aircraft in Hagerstown. Wilma’s daughter, Ann Marie Miller, is the President of the Laurel chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association.


Lorraine and Eddie Miller, who met at Laurel’s USO club.
Lorraine, second from left, with other USO girls.
Lorraine enjoys perusing some vintage Laurel memorabilia.

Many thanks again to this wonderful organization and its members, as well as the First United Methodist Church at 424 Main Street, whose Fellowship Hall hosted the event.