Sexual abuse survivors create jewelry to help heal

Mend

At the age of 12, Lea McGough was kidnapped and held hostage in a Detroit home. For a month she was sexually abused by different people, until she was finally able to escape.

“The man who held me hostage was choking me, but when he leaned forward, I was able to grab him by his neck and push him to the ground,” McGough told Detroit Free Press. “Then I jumped out of a window, and I remember being barefoot because there was snow on the ground.

Now 27, McGough has struggled with how to cope with the experience. Today, she helps create striking jewelry out of auto parts for Detroit-based nonprofit Mend on the Move.

Mend on the Move provides part-time employment to women who are abuse survivors, former drug addicts, homeless or on probation. Rather than gemstones and precious metals, employees use salvaged car seat leather and auto parts to create a variety of striking pieces.

Source: Mend on the Move Facebook

Source: Mend on the Move Facebook

Joanne Ewald founded Mend on the Move in 2015, after years of creating jewelry on her own while learning to cope with the aftermath of years of sexual abuse as a child.

“Through that healing process, I started to make jewelry,” Ewald said to Detroit Free Press. “I also have a really strong faith. The culmination of my faith and the jewelry making and just really wanting to help other who survived trauma, that really how it came to be, just trying to help women heal from their abusive past.”

Today, Ewald works full-time running Mend on the Move. Their team creates about 20 different pieces, all made from parts either purchased from or donated by automotive plants.

Jewelry products from Mend on the Move can be purchased at a growing list of retailers, including the Henry Ford Museum and here at Wellington Limited in Midland.

How a WWII warship shell casing is benefiting local veterans

The brass shell from a WWII Navy cruiser’s 5” gun, engraved for a local veterans group

The brass shell from a WWII Navy cruiser’s 5” gun, engraved for a local veterans group

The leader of a local veterans group recently walked into our shop. He had a bullet casing five inches in diameter, and an idea to create a lasting trophy for their annual golf outing. Our response? Mission accepted.

The Great Lakes Bay Veterans Coalition exists to bring awareness and appreciation to veterans throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region. They do this by making connections between veterans and the business community, advocating for programs that positively impact veterans, spending time in classrooms teaching flag etiquette and what it means to be patriotic, and caring for veterans and/or active duty military and their families in times of crisis. It’s a big job, and obviously we were thrilled at the chance to support them in some small way.

Brad Blanchard, who serves as director of the Great Lakes Bay Veterans Coalition, served in the Navy from 1985 to 1993. The WWII-era shell was donated to him, and he believes it came off of a round fired from the USS Iowa, a ship that utilized both 5” and 16” guns during the war effort. Apparently, it wasn’t uncommon for sailors to recycle the brass casings.

“Shell casings have been used for many things,” says Blanchard. “Every ship had a welding/fabrication shop and the casings were usually taken there to be cut or fabricated into different items - one big request was a small bank for a child to hold coins and money.”

Blanchard decided to utilize his casing as a trophy for his veteran group’s annual golf outing, which raises money to support their efforts.

The shell is polished, with the inaugural champions names added

The shell is polished, with the inaugural champions names added

Laser-engraving rounded objects isn’t an easy task, much less on objects with such sentimental value. We carefully measured the required engraving and got to work, ending up with a finished product that the winning golf foursome can be proud to display… at least until they’re unseated as champions.

For more information on the Great Lakes Bay Veterans Coalition and/or how to participate in their annual golf outing, contact Brad Blanchard at bpblanchard@yahoo.com, or visit the golf outing event page on Facebook.

“Midland landmark” artwork created by Bullock Creek senior

Izzy Waldie poses with her artwork laser-engraved on a glass frame by Wellington Ltd in Midland

Izzy Waldie poses with her artwork laser-engraved on a glass frame by Wellington Ltd in Midland

Isabel “Izzy” Waldie, a senior at Bullock Creek High School in Midland, was waiting in the car while her classmates were visiting local businesses in hopes of getting them to sponsor their yearbook. When they walked into Wellington, we were happy to greet them and support their efforts. While chatting with her classmates, somehow we got on the topic of how we needed to update the artwork for our “Midland Landmarks” series. Izzy’s friend knew just the person, and rushed out to the car to get her.

After working with Izzy for a few months, we’re proud to say Wellington Ltd. is her very first paying client. Izzy worked hard to capture several popular scenes around Midland, including the Tridge, Dow Gardens, Dahlia Hill, Dow Diamond and several others.

At Wellington, we often get requests from customers for engravings that include scenes from their hometown, which led to the idea of the Midland Landmarks collection. After several years of utilizing the original landmark series (some of which became outdated), we now have a beautiful, updated collection of Midland scenes that we can engrave on thousands of items.

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As a senior at Bullock Creek High School, Izzy’s day consists of three art classes: Commercial art, advanced art, and studio art.

“Immersing myself in art this year has solidified that I want to pursue an artistic degree in college,” says Izzy. “Doing this project for Wellington has been a huge eye opener into the world of graphic design.”

In addition to her art focus, Izzy plays on the Varsity Volleyball team and serves as the Drumline captain for the school band.

“One of the most challenging parts of this endeavor was time management,” says Izzy. “The landmark collection has been the coolest way to pay tribute to my hometown before I move off to college.”

As far as where she plans to go to college, Izzy is still undecided. We have a feeling wherever she decides to go, she has a bright future ahead of her!