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Organizers say "Save Rosie's Factory" campaign will be a success

An original Rosie the Riveter
Alfred T. Palmer
U.S. Government

It looks like Rosie the Riveter's famous "We Can Do It!" line is proving true once again. 

The campaign to save part of the historic Willow Run bomber plant, where Rosie and thousands of others worked during World War II, says it believes it's raised enough money to keep it from being torn down. 

For the last year or so, the Yankee Air Museum has been trying to raise around $8 million.

That, organizers said, would be enough to buy a corner of the plant and separate it from the rest of the building, which is set to be demolished.

Dennis Norton is the founder of the Yankee Air Museum.

He says they'll make the plant the new site of their museum, though renovations will take years ... and significantly more money.  

In the days before the May 1 deadline, Norton says the campaign raised another $350,000, and found out that the initial costs of the work will be actually be somewhere between $6 million and $7 million. 

He says they received all kinds of donations, including a $10 check from a 92-year-old woman in Monroe, who Norton says worked at a similar plant near Willow Run. 

"She sent a note along with it that said, 'This is all the money that I can afford, I'm on Social Security and I have no pension. But I want you to have it. Because what you're doing saving this history, which is my history, is so important.'

"We've gotten quite a few of these that are generally low-end donations that aren't all that significant in the overall pot of money," Norton said, "but they're very significant in telling us what people think of what we're trying to do." 


Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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