Mother’s Day Shrine announces speaker for May 12 observance of Mother’s Day

GRAFTON—The city where Mother’s Day began is preparing for its 111th observance of Mother’s Day at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 12, at the International Mother’s Day Shrine in downtown Grafton.

The Shrine Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that its keynote speaker for 2019 is Internationally known Dr. Noelle Hunter, co-founder and president of the iStand Parent Network Inc.

Dr. Hunter is also the Dean of Student Life at Ohio Valley University, a Christian liberal arts college in Vienna, WV, just outside of Parkersburg.  During her decade in higher education, Hunter served as a professor of state and local government, American political institutions, international relations, critical reading, and English composition at West Virginia University, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Morehead State University and Maysville Community & Technical College. Hunter was the Director of College Readiness and an instructor of Developmental Reading at Morehead State University.

Dr. Hunter was appointed by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin to serve as executive director of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Office of Highway Safety from 2016-2018, the first African-American to serve in that role.

Hunter is president and co-founder of iStand Parent Network Inc., a nonprofit that empowers parents to recover their children from International Parental Child Abduction and advocates for public policy reform that returns children home.  In 2014, She recovered her daughter from a nearly three-year abduction to Mali, West Africa, with support and resources from Congress, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Justice and a strong network of supporters. Since 2014, Dr. Hunter has offered testimony at seven congressional hearings and regularly travels to Washington for cause advocacy.

In 2003, Hunter served as the James E. Webb Fellow for the Smithsonian Institution Office of Policy and Analysis and worked in constituent services for the former Sen. Jay Rockefeller, of West Virginia. Prior to federal service, Hunter was the Walter Rollins Scholar for the West Virginia Legislature Committee on Health and Human Services and committee staff for the subcommittees on Homeland Security and Bioterrorism; and Workforce, Innovation and the New Economy—responsible for identifying threats and contingency plans to protect West Virginia’s critical infrastructure.

Hunter worked as a media relations executive for Public Communications, Inc. in Chicago and coordinated learning opportunities for underserved, urban youth from 1995-2000. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism in 1994 and a Masters of Public Administration in 2009 from Ohio University. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from West Virginia University in 2007. Noelle lives in Vienna, and has three daughters, Rachel, Rysa and Muna.

The Shrine is one of 16 National Historic Landmarks within West Virginia and is where the first Mother’s Day was observed on May 10, 1908.

Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis was born in Taylor County and grew up in Grafton.  When Jarvis was less than a year old, her family moved from her birthplace at Webster into Grafton. She was influenced by her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, to devote most of her adult life to establishing Mother’s Day as a holiday and then to defending it against commercialization and other observance trend that were different than her vision for the day and for honoring mothers.

The International Mother’s Day Shrine at 11 East Main Street in Grafton’s downtown historic district is now operated and maintained by a volunteer board of trustees, having been chartered on May 15, 1962.  The annual observance of Mother’s Day is the premiere event for this shrine that is dedicated to honoring all mothers.

The annual observance is a traditional service with similarities to the first celebration in 1908 which was a church service at what was then Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church.  Mrs. Jarvis had taught Sunday School at the church for close to a quarter of a century. In working to establish a Mother’s Day, daughter Anna recalled that when she was 12, her mom in a Sunday School class on mothers of the Bible had called for someone, sometime, someplace to establish a day honoring mothers.  When her mom died in 1905, daughter Anna at the gravesite pledged to fulfill her mother’s wish.  She accomplished this goal when President Woodrow Wilson on May 9, 1914, signed a Joint Congressional Resolution officially recognizing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

This year, on Sunday, May 12, the observance of Mother’s Day will continue at the place where it began and the public is invited to attend and participate in honoring mothers and honoring a holiday whose roots are in the hills of West Virginia but whose reach has spread international over the last century.

International Mother’s Day Shrine to unveil recently acquired painting at open house

By: Nick Skinner, Editor - Updated: 2 months ago


GRAFTON—The International Mother’s Day Shrine is not only a recognized landmark for Taylor County residents, but also for individuals around the state of West Virginia. One Lewisburg resident spent years creating a work of art depicting the building.

Read complete story at The Mountain Statesman

Image © 2018-Mountain Statesman

International Mother’s Day Shrine gets new look

By: Nicki Skinner, Editor - Updated: 8 months ago

GRAFTON—The International Mother’s Day Shrine recently had work done to the interior of the building, and now the outside is getting a little tender love and care.

After last April’s hailstorm, that left much of Grafton in need of repairs, the Mother’s Day Shrine Committee sought bids for the installation of a new roof.

Read complete story at The Mountain Statesman

Image © 2018-Mountain Statesman

International Mother’s Day Shrine receives a signature quilt to display

By: Nicki Skinner, Editor - Updated: 4 months ago

GRAFTON—A piece of history has made its way home, to the International Mother’s Day Shrine, to be shown in the Grafton historical memorability collection.

According to Mother’s Day Shrine Committee member Larry Richmond, a depression era 1933 signature quilt was recently donated to the Shrine.

Read complete story at The Mountain Statesman

Image © 2018-Mountain Statesman


The International Mother's Day Shrine is a non-profit organization.

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Grafton, WV 26354

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