GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Mary Free Bed Guild, which is marking its 125th anniversary, will be inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, which promotes women’s equality by honoring their history and celebrating their accomplishments.
The Mary Free Bed Guild was founded in 1891 when a small group of Grand Rapids women established an endowed bed to help those with limited resources pay for healthcare. They passed a purse and asked anyone named Mary, or anyone who knew someone named Mary, to donate a dime. It was the most common women’s name in 1891, and donations supported the first “Mary free bed” at a local hospital.
Today, the Guild governs the fifth-largest freestanding rehabilitation hospital in the country.
“We are humbled by this honor and inspired by the stories of our fellow inductees,” said Guild president Carol Springer. “With heartfelt vision, the 120 women of our Guild will continue to provide leading-edge rehabilitation services and create a community where children and adults, regardless of their abilities, enjoy activities and camaraderie.”
The Guild is in good company. Other 2016 honorees include: Dr. Anan Ameri of Detroit, founding director of the Arab American National Museum; the Rev. Faith Fowler of Detroit, founder and executive director of Cass Community Social Services; Dr. Olivia Letts of Lansing, the first black woman hired to teach in the Lansing School District; Diana Ross of Detroit, a Motown legend named “Female Entertainer of the 20th Century” by Billboard magazine; and Lou Anna Kimsey Simon of East Lansing, the first woman president of Michigan State University.
The induction ceremony is Oct. 19 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. For more information on the nominees and ceremony details, including ticket information, visit michiganwomen.org.
Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, nationally accredited, rehabilitation hospital. For 125 years, Mary Free Bed has restored hope and freedom through rehabilitation for children and adults who have experienced brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple traumas, amputations, cancer and other diagnoses. The combination of comprehensive services and an exclusive focus on rehabilitation enables specialty physicians and staff to help patients achieve outstanding clinical results. For additional information, visit maryfreebed.com.