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Feminist Network's 2024 Writing Women in History Honorees

The Macomb Feminist Network (MFN) has selected Cathy Early, Sheila Nollen, Susan Shoemaker and Lin Stults as recipients of its 2024 Writing Women in History Awards. The women will be honored for their exemplary contributions to the Macomb community on Saturday, March 2 during a reception at Wesley Village Community Center.

A light brunch will begin at 9:30 a.m., followed by an awards ceremony. Reservations are not required for this event.

The MFN seeks to expand public knowledge and appreciation of individual women whose initiatives, advocacy and engagement have strengthened the local community in significant ways. This year's honorees have excelled as role models and community leaders over many years.

As an entrepreneur, Early has been a role model for the Macomb, McDonough County and WIU communities. She serves her clients with competence and compassion while also weaving her business skill set into supporting the safety and success of people in West Central Illinois. Early supports civic and cultural groups, including the Macomb Public Library, Tri States Public Radio, the Rotary, United Way and the McDonough County EMS/911. With her experience within the region, Early now sits on multiple boards, including the Economic Development Corp, Macomb’s Chamber of Commerce and the McDonough Hospital Foundation.

Nollen’s contributions to the community demonstrates her constant commitment to social justice and equity. She has been a large supporter of coalitions that directly address social justice and equity issues, including food insecurity, homelessness, poverty, illiteracy and discrimination. Nollen has served as an Elder with Deacon and has held chair positions in the First Presbyterian Church, the Western Illinois Museum and the Giving Gardens Advisory Board. Nollen utilizes her professional library skills and experience to impact projects significantly.

Shoemaker has been a major contributor to the McDonough Choral Society (MCS) for 21 years. She and her husband, John, founded the MCS and has been the cornerstone of its development. With her musical background in vocals and directing, she effectively leads the choral group. Shoemaker has remained dedicated to the MCS through the never ending amount of behind-the-scenes work such as raising funding, selecting and securing musical pieces for performance, leading months of weekly rehearsals, contracting rehearsal accompanists and program soloists and promoting MCS concerts.

Stults has been a model entrepreneur and a generous lifelong civic-minded Macomb resident for over 40 years. She serves the community at Engraving by Lin, an Historic Downtown Legacy Business Enterprise that has succeeded from her creativity, skill and attention to customers needs. Stults has done pro-bono work for schools and local non-profit organizations. Through her business, she has also contributed to increasing the number and variety of community events, such as her recent assistance in implementing the annual Dickens on the Square celebration.

These women join the those who have been honored previously with the Writing Women into History Award: Wanda Black, Mary Ellen Graff, Rosa Julestrom and Beth Stiffler (2010); Connie Berg, Marcia Moll and Ruth Parks (2011); Maria Dunstan, Judith Kohler and Donna Werner (2012); Josephine Johnson, Elizabeth Kaspar and Janice Welsch (2013); Gordana Rezab, Alice Swain and Mary Warnock (2014); Lois Ganyard, Margaret Ovitt and Suzan Nash (2015); Alice Henry, Alta Sargent and Peggy Scharfenburg (2016); Lorraine Epperson, Debbie Maguire, Pamella McLean and Rebecca "Becky" Parker (2017); Sally Egler, Martha Klems, Maurine Magliocco and Paula Wise (2018); Belinda Carr, Susan Lawhorn, Winona Malpass, Essie Rutledge and Patricia Walton (2019); Janine Cavicchia, Patricia "Patti" Jones, Lois Lueck and Sue Scott (2020); Gayle Carper, Nancy "Nan" Crossman, Verneata Jones and Jill Joline Myers (2021); and Brenda Allison, Andrea Henderson and Sandra Mosley (2023).

Information about these women's contributions to the city and county is available on the MFN website at

During the event, honorees will share their stories of community commitment and civic responsibility. Their stories will also be live-streamed on the Macomb Feminist Network's Facebook page.

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