Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Writing Women into History – A legacy of being involved in Macomb

Susan Shoemaker, Sheila Nollen, Cathy Early, and Lin Stults (left to right) are this year's recipients of the Writing Women into History honor.
courtesy photo
Susan Shoemaker, Sheila Nollen, Cathy Early, and Lin Stults (left to right) are this year's recipients of the Writing Women into History honor.

The Macomb Feminist Network begins Women’s History Month by honoring women who’ve made the community a better place.

This year was no exception. Four women were recognized with the group’s Writing Women into History honor during a celebration at the Wesley Community Center.

Sheila Nollen

Nollen is being celebrated for numerous contributions to community organizations. She said it’s important to be engaged.

“We need to be thinking about each other, and this is an excellent place to be able to do that. Macomb is a good place to see others, to live with others, and to make things a little bit better,” she said.

Nollen is involved with her church – First Presbyterian -- and she’s especially interested in anything that helps address food insecurity.

Nollen is also committed to addressing issues of social justice and equity. She said that begins at home.

“I have to start with myself, and then go with the next step with friends and others that are in my close (circle), and then begin to get out into the community and actually see what’s happening. It’s all little steps, but slowly making some progress,” Nollen said.

She said change does not happen overnight – she does not change overnight, and neither do others. She’s been in Macomb for 57 years and said it’s better than it was, but there is still room for progress.

Nollen is honored to be recognized by the MFN, but also said she feels like an imposter because so many others are doing so much more.

Susan Shoemaker

Shoemaker also finds it exciting and humbling to be recognized with the Writing Women into History honor.

Shoemaker and her husband founded the McDonough Choral Society more than 20 years ago.

“At the very first rehearsal we had a big crowd of 45 to 50 people. We had no idea how many people would show up,” she said.

Shoemaker says it’s gratifying to know so many people are interested in performing beautiful music, and as a result, it was not difficult to keep the choral society going.

The organization typically performs two concerts each year – one in the spring, the other in December.

Shoemaker believes it’s important to bring music to the community.

“How can you live without music? It’s as if everybody loves music, and it’s just got to be a part of everybody’s life whether as a listener or a contributor,” she said.

Shoemaker is thankful for the community’s support of the choral society through financial donations and by attending concerts.

She believes in supporting groups that bring things to the community because that helps the community expand its appreciation of many different things.

Lin Stults

One of the unique displays in Macomb is called the Flags of Love. Several times a year, hundreds of American flags are flown in Chandler Park in memory of veterans from Macomb and McDonough County.

Lin Stults has served on that organizing committee, and has been involved with numerous other local groups through the years, including Dickens on the Square, the public library board, and the historic preservation committee.

“Macomb is just my heartland. I was born and raised here and I love this town. I feel very blessed to have been here all my life,” Stults said.

Several times during our conversation Stults mentioned her love for Macomb.

She said it’s fun to get to know people, and that it’s easy to get Involved.

“Just start looking and listening and paying attention to what’s going on and volunteer. Ask if you can help in some small way or in a large way,” Stults said.

Stults’ business is Engraving by Lin. She does plaques and trophies pro bono for schools. She says it’s important to give back to the community’s kids.

The Macomb Feminist Network describes Stults as model entrepreneur and a generous, civic-minded resident.

Cathy Early

The fourth woman honored is Cathy Early. She was unable to attend the event.

The MFN said Early is being recognized for her leadership in the Macomb, McDonough County, and Western Illinois University communities, and for her support of numerous civic and cultural groups.

The MFN said Early was a role model as an entrepreneur, served on many local boards, and supported numerous education initiatives and athletic activities.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story. TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news departmentplease consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.