When the staff and volunteers from Monroe’s Downtown returned from the Georgia Downtown Association Conference that took place in Decatur last week, they didn’t just bring home an award for the Pocket Park. They also brought home the gold.
“Janice Rowe was awarded the Downtown Volunteer of the Year,” said Monroe’s economic development director Sadie Krawczyk. “Janice won the award out of every community in the state, and she more than deserves it for her tireless effort to reunite the Monroe Girls Corp.”
The award was for Rowe’s had a vision and successful effort to reunite Monroe’s famous Drum and Bugle Corps – Monroe Girls Corps. When Rowe first set out, she had hoped to bring maybe 30 of the past members to town for a reunion – she ended up with more than 200 of them.
In making the presentation to Rowe last week, Jessica Reynolds with the GDA read from the application.
“The Corps was relatively famous in the 1950s for their precision marching and drills. For decades, the Monroe Girls Corps served not only as the face of Monroe and Walton County but were dubbed “Georgi’s Daughters of Goodwill.” They performed locally, at halftime of college and high school football games, in parades across the state as well as Chicago, Florida and the famed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. They even performed in Carnegie Hall. 2013 marked the 60th anniversary of Monroe Downtown’s annual Christmas parade, which was originally started by Mr. Wayne Shields, the director of the Monroe Girls Corps.”
The presentation went on to explain how Rowe had spent months, with the help of many to bring the former members to town. She also arranged for the instruments and together with her husband, Randell, mowed and cleaned the old practice field, so the girls would have a place to practice. She also arranged for the uniforms at very little cost. The result was a precision group of more than 200, some of them nearly 80 years old, were in town for the Monroe 2013 Christmas Parade.
Rowe also volunteered in the downtown pocket park, constructing the fence with her husband, and she is currently working to open a Monroe Culture and Heritage Museum. This was the result of a non-profit organization that was formed as a result of the Girls Corps reunion.
For all of this, Rowe was chosen as Georgia Downtown Association’s Volunteer of the Year.