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Women’s group in Pulaski Co. working to honor Ky. woman who inspired Rosie the Riveter

Women’s group in Pulaski Co. working to honor Ky. woman who inspired Rosie the Riveter
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 4:46 PM EDT
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PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - One of U.S. history’s most familiar female faces is said to be inspired by a Kentucky woman. Rose Leigh Monroe was born in Science Hill.

During World War II, she worked in a factory and appeared in a war bonds promotional film.

A group of Pulaski County women who work to honor Rose’s legacy are now teaching young girls about the woman who did it all.

“Women can do anything,” said Robyn Denney, a woman who portrays Rosie the Riveter.

The Somerset Junior Woman’s Club proved that to be true. Rosie the Riveter, a face that lines the pages of history books, can be matched to a well-known name in Pulaski County.

“I am Rose Leigh Monroe, or Rosie the Riveter,” Denney said.

Denney and her fellow club members are committed to remembering Rosie. It all started with a drive to work.

“I heard this ad talking about Rosie the Riveter being from Bobtown. And I’m like, ‘do what?’” said Melanie King, chair of the Rosie the Riveter committee.

King started researching who Rosie the Riveter was— a woman born in Science Hill who worked in a factory during the war.

“She was a riveter. She literally put the planes together and used the big, huge rivet gun,” King said.

“The men went away to war and the women worked,” Denney said.

Rose Leigh Monroe isn’t the same woman on the posters we see today, but her name and face did have their moment of fame.

“Rose’s boss said ‘I have a real Rose on my line.’ And they interviewed her and then she did some war bond films,” King said.

King and her fellow club members are keeping her legacy in the spotlight through history walks and permanent road signs. People in town remember the renaissance woman well.

“She was vivacious and a spitfire. She wanted to fly, wasn’t allowed to fly during WWII, so in the 70s she got her pilot license,” King said.

Beyond being a riveter, she was a beautician, built homes and owned a cab company.

“Rosie was definitely an empowered woman. Hopefully we get our story told enough that little girls know that she came from this area and we can do anything we want to do,” King said.

An icon lives on in the bluegrass.

“I don’t want her to be lost, ever. I want her to stay in our history,” Denney said.

The Somerset Junior Woman’s Club raised $1,500 to pay for the two Pulaski County road signs in Rose Leigh Monroe’s name.

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