Pastor Rob Vaughan of Romney Presbyterian church, which has a connection with Reverend Marlin Lane Rankin who periodically preached there, gave a prayer to formally open the ceremony. Additionally, the school’s choir, Tapestry, sang and communicated by sign language a heartwarming rendition of their school song; the Honeybees beautifully performed the suffragist song, “Warrior;” and historical background was provided by Luanne Smith and through Mayor Beverly Keadle’s Town of Romney Proclamation.
Videos from our two U.S. Senators fit well with the presentations and were well-received by the audience.
Melanie Hesse addressed the “Who Are You Issue,” regarding Marlin Lane Rankin’s name that was incorrectly listed in the West Virginia Blue Book of 1920.
The final presentation was given by Melanie Hesse, who introduced the audience to geocaching, explained that a geocache walking tour had been developed highlighting the town of Romney’s role in ratifying the 19th amendment, and proudly announced the school’s first geocache, which has been made accessible to the blind. The cache, entitled “Marlin Lane Rankin and the 19th Amendment,” will ensure he will be remembered long into the future, and fittingly it was found later August 26th by two students from the school – finding their first geocache – who attended the ceremony.
To end the event, as the right to vote was a central theme, attendees not yet registered to vote were invited to register at a table that was set up for that purpose; two students enthusiastically did so.
A relative of Marlin Lane Rankin was able to participate through the school’s live streaming of the event. The school provided delicious refreshments, and the Town of Romney contributed the beautiful floral arrangement. The school videotaped the event, which can be seen at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind Facebook page under videos.
The planning group for the event consisted of Melanie Hesse, the Dean of Students/Principal of the WVSDB, Mayor Beverly Keadle, Nancy Judd, and Luanne Smith, and we were all delighted with the results. Our press release and other measures (including fans) to gain attendance drew attention to the event, which was well-attended. Ken Caldwell provided a flyer to various organizations to publicize the event. The Hampshire Review published an article a few weeks prior to the event and helped publicize it with its weekend “What’s Happening” email that is sent to subscribers. They also published an article after the event.
Dale Brady helped with getting contact information to the WVSDB for their press release, which received attention in various WV News locations, including Jackson County, Rankin’s home county. Now, when you search on Marlin Lane Rankin’s name, you’ll find his true name numerous times and with pictures (including a painting done by Nancy Judd) bearing his name.