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Hear My Story: Rosemary Oglesby-Henry

We can use any of our 24 character strengths to act as an upstander. It was the character strength of love that we chose to recognize Cincinnati social entrepreneur Rosemary Oglesby-Henry for at this year’s Upstander Awards.  In this episode, you’ll find out why that strength shines so brightly in Rosemary, and also learn more about the woman we talk about in our museum, after whom Rosemary’s award is named.

“So, at 17, I made this declaration in my life, not only am I going to make sure that my daughter is good, and I’m going to be the best for her. I’m gonna make sure that I change this for anybody else (facing teenage pregnancy).”

-Rosemary Oglesby-Henry

The Rochel Boymel award for Love was presented to Rosemary by Steve Boymel, Rochel’s grandson, during the Upstander Awards, held at Union Terminal on June 2, 2024. In August of 1942. Rochel Boymel was raising 4 children by herself in Turszysk, Poland, in what is now Ukraine. Rochel’s son, Sam, was 17 years old when the Nazis marched her family and the rest of the town’s Jewish community to the outskirts of town. It became clear that they were being sent to their deaths. Facing imminent death, Rochel’s final act was one of motherly love. “Get some long pants, take my sweater, I don’t want you to catch a cold,” she told Sam. “Run my child.” Sam narrowly escaped into a nearby forest and survived the rest of the war fighting as a Partisan. Of receiving the award from Sam’s son, Steve, Rosemary said, “It’s powerful. It’s humbling to know that he had a grandmother too. That the person that honored me, we are so alike, in more ways than one. And I am grateful, and I am appreciative.”

In this episode, Rosemary described the seismic shift that happened in her life when she decided to keep and raise her daughter, when she was only a teen herself. How others cast disapproving glances at her. How she struggled to find role models. How even basic needs like housing became difficult to find. How policies work against teens trying to do right by their children. She remembers all of it, and the memory of that struggle motivates her as the founder of Rosemary’s Babies Company. The organization serves hundreds of teen parents to acclimate to their new responsibilities and create a lasting legacy for themselves and their babies. The Holocaust & Humanity Center’s Jackie Congedo hosts the conversation.

Episode Resources

Learn more about us and our work building a community of upstanders 

Read about all of the incredible upstander award winners 

Find out more about Rosemary’s work

Read more about Sam Boymel

This episode is part of the Cynthia & Harold Guttman Family Center for Storytelling. Find this story and more here  

Our gratitude to Margaret & Michael Valentine for their ongoing support of this series.  



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