Leah Winchester tells of the person behind Rosie the Riveter at Women in Service Day at the MVHW

Leah Winchester looks at the screen on the wall as she tells stories about her grandmother, Naomi Parker Frayley, whom Rosie the Riveter was based off of. Her presentation was part of Women in Service Day on Saturday, Nov. 9.

WARRENSBURG — While most know what Rosie the Riveter symbolized, many don’t know the true story behind the person Rosie is based off of.

That changed for some people on Saturday, Nov. 9, in Johnson County as Leah Winchester spoke about her grandmother, Naomi Parker Frayley, at Women in Service Day at the Missouri Veterans Home — Warrensburg.

Women in Service Day capped off the Branch of Service Week celebration at the home.

Winchester gave the presentation two times throughout the day.

Winchester gave a message of inspiration on Saturday.

She told of the impact her grandmother left on her and encouraged others to live by the example her grandmother set.

“Who was the real woman in the red, polka dotted bandana,” Winchester asked.

Before her presentation, Winchester played a video that described the importance of Rosie the Riveter and gave people some insight into who Parker Frayley was as a person.

“She exuded perfection,” Winchester said of her grandmother. “My grandmother would say, ‘You are better than no one and no one is better than you.’”

The video concluded with a letter Parker Frayley wrote in August 2016.

The letter

“To the young people:

You stand at the crossroads of life and look upon the future. You have a long life ahead, and it’s your right to choose the road that you wish to walk on.

One road is darkness, and the influences are many. They beckon to you for your destruction, and will drag you down, if you entertain them. They will cause you to despise yourself for the way you are walking.

The other road is of love and charity, and cleanliness of mind, peace, sweet and forgiving. It is the way in which you can feel good about yourself. You are uniquely created. There’s no other one created exactly like you. You’re an individual mold and have your very own talents and gifts.

The road of light also beckons you on and is fulfilling with happiness in its wake. Set a goal for yourself, large or small, and pursue it. It will give you security and will also cause you to be fulfilled. I speak this word in capital letters…it is HONOR…use it. Honor of the Lord, parents and country, military and community, friends and all. You will feel good about yourself, and it will show in your actions and on your face, and happiness will follow.

In this age you have many opportunities before you. Go forth, learn as much as you can. You are a treasure, and the world waits for you.”

Winchester’s charge

Winchester talked about how this letter described how her grandmother lived her life.

She discussed all the fond memories she had of her grandmother, her willingness to help others and her passion for singing.

“She never let the world steal her joy or her song,” Winchester said. “Grandma never had anything she would not share.

She talked about how Parker Frayley found beauty in everything.

“My grandmother loved pretty things,” Winchester said.

But just because Parker Frayley loved her stuff, Winshester said that would not stop her from giving it to someone who needed it more than her.

Winchester said she still catches her grandmother influencing her actions today.

“I can hear my grandma’s voice ringing, ‘Don’t say can’t, can’t isn’t in your vocabulary,’” Winchester said.

She described her grandmother as a servant-leader.

Winchester encouraged those in attendance to look at their lives and see how they too could become servant-leaders.

She discussed the various aspects of servant leadership, such as listening, empathy, stewardship, foresight, persuasion, conceptualization, awareness, healing, commitment to the growth and development of people and building community.

Winchester also described the importance of being unique, at the same time.

“My grandmother was uniquely created,” Winchester said.

As she told the stories of her grandmother, Winchester continued to reference the letter that was read at the close of the video that started her presentation.

“My grandmother loved and trusted without boundaries,” she said.

Before she closed, Winchester read a portion of the letter again and gave everyone a charge of trying to be a servant-leader like her grandmother and to live with honor, not just for yourself but for others and everything you do.

Managing Editor of Digital Publishing Derek Brizendine can be reached by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @DerekBrizendine.

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