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“She was the first…”

“She was the first…”

Senator Elizabeth Dole’s Legacy Celebrated in the Classroom

March is Women’s History Month, and what better way to commemorate the vital role of women in American history than by showcasing the cross-generational impact of one very special woman to the Foundation — Senator Elizabeth Dole. 

Senator Elizabeth Dole has paved ways for generations to follow, including our youngest Americans, children like third-grader Charlie Rotenberry. Each year we have the pleasure of recognizing the month with a leader like Senator Elizabeth Dole. This year was no different, but we received additional help from a young supporter of the Foundation. 

For a school assignment, Charlie was to write about a history-making woman whom he admires. You already have a clear guess of who it is.

Charlie’s decision hits close to home for his family. Not only has Senator Elizabeth Dole kept families safe with mandating seat belts and airbags, but her attention has now turned to military caregiver families, like Charlie’s. His mom is Liz Rotenberry, Fellows Program Manager for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, and a veteran caregiver. She cares for her husband, Chuck, a Marine who was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) while deployed in Afghanistan.

The Rotenberry Family

Charlie and his older siblings – Kris, Anna, and Sara – are military caregiver kids, serving as secondary caregivers who take on roles beyond their years. Growing up in a military family has strengthened her children’s compassion and resiliency, shares Liz, as well as their appreciation for all those who served our country.

Senator Elizabeth Dole – Women in History Report

By Charlie Rotenberry

Did you know that every time you get in your car you are protected with seat belts and airbags? Do you know who you can thank for this? We can all thank Senator Elizabeth Dole. She is an amazing woman in history and has many firsts that she has accomplished. 

Elizabeth Dole was born in 1936 and served under 6 different US presidents. She was the first female in charge of the American Red Cross since Clara Barton helping many around the world. She served as the first woman Secretary of Labor with work for child labor laws and much more to help those in coal mines. Also she was the first female Secretary of Transportation. She said all new cars must have seatbelts, airbags, another brake light, and changed the age of drinking from 18 to 21. Her work has saved thousands of people with this changes. Some other major work include making school lunches better by helping truckers that deliver food to schools. On airplanes Elizabeth Dole told them that smoking was not allowed anymore and even added lights to the pathway for helping those on the plane. After a speech for her husband Senator Bob Dole she wanted to run for president in 1999. She became the first female to really run for president but she did not get selected but this was a big first for women. But soon Elizabeth became the first woman Senator in North Carolina for 2003 to 2009. Even now she continues to work hard and in 2012 Elizabeth Dole created the Elizabeth Dole Foundation which helps caregivers like my mom. I think she is such an important woman in history because she gave us so many things that people from around the world come across today to save them and my mom gets to work for her. 

Virtual school is still in session, as Charlie works from home to write his assignment.

Liz Rotenberry, Charlie’s mother, with Senator Elizabeth Dole.