The Springfield City Federation Women’s Club presented the 2022 Empowering Women - One By One Award to Ruth Willke Folz for her many volunteer contributions in the county.
Folz was presented with a framed certificate and a blue cobalt glass award at the annual presentation on June 11. She was nominated by Barbara Faust, Beverly Dixon, Jan Kushmaul, Pat Banaszak and Nancy Metzger.
In 1972, Folz, an registered nurse and special education teacher, met with others who were interested in establishing a volunteer program to support young mothers and their infants in the community. She became the executive director of Birthline, which became Mercy Parent-Infant Center in the 1980s, and continued that position until 1998.
Folz established a program that helped parents with items such as formula, diapers, infant clothing and information for them to become loving and compassionate caregivers, according to her nominators. There were weekly classes, home visits, emotional support and material assistance for families.
The Parent-Infant Center had address changes over the years, but it still exists at the Rocking Horse Health Center in Springfield to provided needed services.
This annual award presentation began in June 2009 to honor an outstanding woman in the Clark County community who is nominated and selected as an empowering woman among her peers.