In the 1940’s numerous female Veterans returned home after World War II. Many wanted a place for a military bond and camaraderie looking primarily to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. In Oregon, Anna “Meg” Young Dawes, and Muriel “Dolly” Ruble among others became members of the American Legion Post #1 in Portland.
Dawes wanted to keep in touch with fellow women Marines. In 1947, Dawes and a staff of American Legion volunteers would meet at her home to write, copy, and mail a newsletter to women Marines called “The Scuttlebutt”. Soon, word spread of the newsletter and of discussion in regards to forming a National Group. She collected letters and postcards from Women of the Corps all over the country amassing roughly 12,000 out of 20,000 women who had served in the Corps. The mailing list gathered by the Scuttlebutt Gang was later used by the WMA as the basis to reach potential members in their newsletter, “Nouncements”.
The first WMA chapter was formed in 1962 with six additional chapters by 1964. The Greater Oregon Chapter of Portland, Oregon was formed charter members by Dolly, and Meg who each respectively served an instrumental role. The other charter members include: Edith Aanderud, Norma Acheson, Toni Baker, Eva Rae Briscoe, Marie Bulletset, Dottie Cleary Schultz, Bea Covert, Marian Elston, Carol Koch, Dorothy Krager, Julia Laas, Thoma Livingston, Betty Ream, Jane Reeves, Millie Santos, Sylvia Simpson, Marian Smith, Edna Swearingen.
In 1980 The Greater Oregon Chapter changed its name to OR-1 Lady Marine Rose in honor of the official WMA flower that was introduced by the chapter. For additional details see the History of the Lady Marine Rose.
When Meg passed away in 1998, the chapter established the Meg Dawes Scholarship in her honor for her accomplishments within the chapter and for being a trailblazer within the WMA. Her family donated $1,000 towards the first educational scholarship award. Since then, OR-1 has continued raising money for the annual scholarship.
Chapter member Margaret Apel bequeathed in her will in 2014 OR-1 ten percent of her estate dedicated towards scholarships. In memory of Margaret Apel, our chapter requested WMA to start the Margaret Apel Scholarship and fund it in continually. The remaining funds were dedicated to local scholarships.
OR-1 Lady Marine Rose Chapter has continued to grow with members from WWII through current including active duty members. We are strong, resilient and dedicated to those who serve.