Por El Amor De Rose (For The Love Of Rose)Block Number: 95
“Por el Amor de Rose”
(For the Love of Rose)
By Ginger Todd
The McDowell County Department of Social Services now displays McDowell Quilt Trail Block #95, titled in Spanish “Por el Amor de Rose” (For the Love of Rose). The block was installed on the department’s building at 145 East Court Street in downtown Marion on Friday, August 12th, 2011 by Mike Lucas and Jack Raker, quilt trail volunteers.
The name and colors of the block were chosen in honor and memory of Rose Marie Kuhl, a former employee of over 8 years. Rose, a bi-lingual co-worker who resided in Spindale, Rutherfordton County, tragically lost her life in recent weeks due to a domestic violence incident. She is described as an energetic, special lady who loved the beautiful things in life.
For the last several years Rose was a case worker primarily in the Food and Nutrition Services Department, although she had previously served in the Child Support Division; however, Rose’s bi-lingual ability was extremely helpful to all staff divisions in the department by interpreting Hispanic case load problems. Director Philip Hardin stated that her death has been troublesome for the staff to handle, and that the void her death left within the department will be difficult to fill.
The department’s motto is “people focused and service driven,” and the various divisions deal with a multitude of social services, their case loads increasing around 150 percent in recent years. The staff wanted to host a quilt block in Rose’s memory and decided to use a traditional single rose quilt pattern. The block is also a reminder of the mission of the McDowell County Department of Social Services: “To respectfully assist families and individuals by helping them maintain and/or enhance their quality of life; to prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable people in the community.” The department, which was initiated in the 1930s and now employs around 130 workers, implements multiple federal and state human service programs, including domestic violence. The current building became its home office in 1994.
Por el Amor de Rose, a 4 X 4 foot block designed and painted by volunteer Mike Lucas, is situated diagonally on the center of the department’s building above the entrance’s flower bed. It faces East Court Street due south and is easily viewed by those passing by.
The rose is in five colors of varying shades of purple, the color representative of domestic violence. The center is in two shades of yellow, and the leaves are in three hues of green, with a triangular point on each side representative of thorns. A brown stem extends to the lowermost part of the block, on a background of muted dark blue. It serves as a daily public awareness reminder of the domestic violence in our county and elsewhere, as well as a tribute to the valued employee who lost her life to that very problem.
Employees gathered outside the building as quilt trail volunteer and chairperson Jill Lucas presented the framed Certificate of Authenticity to Philip Hardin, Director of DSS. Mr. Hardin gave a reverent dedication speech in memory of Rose Marie Kuhl, and spoke of her unselfish commitment to her job. Rose’s Supervisor, Denise Prewitt, of the Food and Nutrition Department, spoke openly of Rose as a beautiful woman who loved life, had a passion for living and maintained an open, ambitious attitude when faced with any situation.
The block Por el Amor de Rose serves a tri-fold message: a keepsake of the name and vision of Rose, a well-respected employee; the color of the rose representing domestic violence, and as a reminder to the public that help is available through the Department of Social Services to defeat this problem and its tragic consequences. A candlelight service was held Tuesday evening, August 9th, in memory of her passing and of the department’s loss from such an unfortunate occurrence.