Each year since its inception in 2011, Robbins Hunter Museum has recognized a local woman for achievement in her field of endeavor. For 2018, Florence R. Gibson, “Flo”, has been named the recipient of The Victoria Woodhull Woman of Achievement award.
Flo will be honored at a luncheon and ceremony on February 14, 2019, at the museum. A brick with her name, her area of achievement, and the year of presentation will be installed in the clock tower walkway at the museum.
Locally, Flo is widely known for her gardening expertise, but it is her care for women at risk that places her in a position of esteem. In the many years she tended at least 16 gardens scattered on her Alexandria, Ohio, farm, her gardening efforts often turned into the regular and anticipated Flo’s Garden Party, a fund raiser to support Action Ohio Coalition for Battered Women and the local Center for New Beginnings, a battered women’s shelter in Newark, which she founded.
It is the founding and operation of Center for New Beginnings that, in particular, earns our respect and admiration for her accomplishments. As reported in the Newark Advocate in 2015, Flo realized that Licking County needed to do more to help women in need of protection.
“So she teamed up with a group of women and a few attorneys to start a shelter for women affected by domestic violence. They didn’t have any money, and at one point considered renting out a storefront downtown and setting up some cots. Eventually, the team was able to get a grant to open a formal shelter and it took off from there,” the article reported.
“Flo’s work with the Center for New Beginnings and Action Ohio certainly has made a huge impact on the lives of so many women and their families in Licking County and beyond,” says Ann Lowder, director of the Robbins Hunter Museum.