Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. It’s been 30 years since a handful of women decided to initiate a local team for peace and love; a team against war and violence. Seven women met at a Nederland kitchen table where they named themselves the Mountain Forum for Peace, a non-profit dedicated to taking a stand for human rights and the cessation of wars.
Those founding members included Phillys Wright, a retired elementary school teacher; Ellen Moore, an Amnesty International employee; Arlene Strand, a Nederland resident mom; Jean Gardner, a Peace Corps worker and school secretary; Barb Farwell, who hosted the first MFP garage sale; Lori Sawyer, a former language arts teacher and Liz Caile, a writer for the Mountain-Ear Newspaper.
The only remaining member of the original MFP group is Ellen Moore who is still as active as she was back then. Since then new members and new officers have come and gone but through the years MFP has continued to offer financial support to peace projects, scholarships, and of course, the annual MFP Yard Sale which funds their events and assistance.
On Sunday afternoon, the current MFP members celebrated their anniversary at the pavilion in Chipeta Park and remembered some of their favorite moments.
The board of directors includes: Teresa Keller, Brandon Mauck, Brent Warren who is retiring, Rebecca Loges and Gwyneth Bass. Teresa presented Brent Warren a gift for his 10 years of serving on the board and Warren, in his usual original way, offered a howl of gratitude.
Brent said, “It has been a lot of fun, 10 years of meeting and knowing the MFP people. Thank you for being here.”
Teresa said that they are looking for a new member for the board of directors. This person should be familiar with and support the mission of MFP and be able to commit to a minimum of one year of service.
As the group munched on a potluck, soup and bread meal, the Gael played their peaceful but lively music.
Former board member Gail Watson said she thought that the Burma children project touched her heart the most.
Bonnie Sundance said that marching with the MFP members in the Fourth of July parade was her favorite time. “It helped me feel a part of the Nederland Community.”
One of the most fun projects for many of the members was working with the Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center making peace pinwheels.
The long-lasting signs of MFP’s work are included in the sculpture garden at the entrance to town. The bronze of a Native American woman presenting a feather to a white man was created by Dave Current and under the sculpture reads the words: “To those who in all periods and places teach out to one another in peace.”
Scott Harrison creator of the animals in the Carousel of Happiness carved the peace pole that is located in the garden by the pedestrian bridge in the center of town.
The MFP offers the Liz Caile Writing Contest every year, giving a chance for local students to express their thoughts on peace and the environment.
Congratulations to the MFP for being one of the longest-lasting, continuous non-profit organizations in the area, supporting a peaceful town, country and world for now and into the future.