The Heroines

Donna J. Neufeld

is honored with a Brick from RuthAnn Hiebert.

 Donna J. Neufeld Picture (from left): Donna Neufeld and RuthAnn Hiebert

Donna Neufeld has become my confidante, sister, musical partner, political ally, women's advocate colleague, cooking and gardening consort, and best friend. Donna is a very talented, active and multifaceted woman. She taught grade school, high school, and then 12 years in colleges. She is very active in our community, serving on many boards, committees and positions in the Chamber of Commerce, Kidron Bethel, American Association of University Women, Bethel College, Bethel College Mennonite Church, Newton/North Newton Planning and Zoning Commission, and member of the Newton Area Symphony, where she played violin.

Donna's profession is serving humanity as a counselor. Many people, especially women and families, greatly appreciate the help they receive with her counsel and hail her as a wonderfully understanding, sensitive, empowering professional.

Her family is Number 1 in her life: husband, grown children, sister, and brother and family. As a mother, she not only encouraged her children in their studies and activities, she also participated with them in community musical/theatrical productions. Today her daughter is a Ph.D., researching in molecular biology (University of Utah). Her son and wife are Master Social Workers in St. Louis. Her family enjoys a close bond.

When I moved back to Kansas in '91 and rented the basement apartment in her home, I had no idea what a wonderful friend this landlady would become. For years I had enjoyed playing my autoharp, doing Old-Time and Sing-Along programs. Then Donna joined me and I discovered it isn't just twice as much fun, it's a hundred times more fun. We make up songs or words to familiar tunes to fit the occasions, tell jokes, and have a good time. We made the 10:00 News on the Wichita TV channels when we played for a Women's Celebration in the park by Century II.

Donna's strong advocacy for women's causes soon got me involved--speaking out, marching, supporting and working, and writing letters to the editor (now I'm known in the area for my letters to the editor in the hillbilly vernacular). We are very active in the American Association of University Women and have received state and national acclaim for producing outstanding newsletters supporting equity and education for women and girls.

Donna's visibility in the causes of women got the attention of the Democratic Party leaders in Topeka, and in 1992 they asked her to run for the House of Representatives against the local Republican incumbent. She asked me to be her campaign manager, and we were off and running. We worked literally day and night, winning the primary 2 to 1, and came within 178 swing votes of the general election. Once in politics, we stayed in for another round '94. What exciting times we had!! No matter what the outcome of the elections, we were real winners! We learned so much, and once you've been there, you will never be totally out of it, and life will never be the same.

I can say the same about our wonderful friendship. We are real winners, and life will never be the same - just more good, more fun, more integrity, more life!! I thank God for Donna Neufeld and am happy to honor her as a HEROINE here, as well.

September 16, 1998