SOLON– Rita Brannaman of the Solon Women’s Club was chosen as winner of the 2012-2014 GFWC/Iowa Federation of Women’s Clubs’ (GFWC) “Jennie Award.” The General Federation of Women’s Clubs awards one woman from each state this honor during each two-year administration for lifetime personal excellence. The GFWC Jennie Award is named in honor of GFWC’s founder, Jane Cunningham Croly, who wrote for national newspapers under the pseudonym, Jennie June. The award is an occasion to highlight extraordinary clubwomen who epitomize her spirit of independence, courage, and persistence in purpose through their roles as volunteers within their clubs, elsewhere in the community and as members of family or extended family.
Rita was honored at the GFWC Mississippi Valley Regional Conference on Sept. 28 in Rapid City, S.D. GFWC/Iowa State President, Karen Martinek, accepted the award for Rita who was attending a granddaughter’s wedding that day. President Martinek awarded Rita her certificate and a memento recently at the Solon Women’s Club Christmas Party held at Savvy Coffee and Wine Bar on Dec. 12.
Rita was chosen as Iowa’s representative for over 50 years of involvement with the GFWC/Iowa Solon Women’s Club. She is Solon’s only remaining charter member. She and nine other club members were instrumental in starting the first Solon library in the basement of the Solon bandstand. She was also honored for her involvement in the Johnson County Historical Society, the Sutliff Bridge Authority, St. Mary Catholic Church and the Solon American Legion Auxiliary. She is retired from a 25-year secretarial position for the Solon Community School District. Her commitment to family is also outstanding. She and husband Don raised a family in Solon on their 1850 historical 400-acre farm on Sutliff Road. They raised four children, cared for five foster children and hosted a foreign exchange student from Holland. They now have seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Rita is still very involved with her family and continues to provide aid and comfort to her husband Don.