Daviess County Right To Life History

The Daviess County Right To Life Organization was founded in November of 1976 when a small group of people met and decided it was time  to form a organization in Daviess County to promote life and work to overturn the Roe vs. Wade Decision which legalized abortion in 1973.  A group from Evansville was instrumental in helping our organization get started.  Some of the individuals from Daviess County helping to form the organization was Bob Johnson Pastor of Plainville Christian Church along with Ben Ray & Eva Bean, Pastor of Bethany Christian Church, along with Bernie & Alma Wichman, Bill & Josephine Wichman, Margaret Wichman and Vic Hopkins.  Bob Johnson became the first president of the organization.

Daviess County Right To Life held its first Banquet in November of 1977 with Wayne Smith as the Speaker and it was held at the Plainville Lions Club Bldg. In Plainville.  We have held a banquet each year since that time and this has become the highlight of the year for the organization as hundreds of pro-life people come together to renew their effort in the fight against abortion in this country.  After the first Banquet was held in Plainville the Banquet was then held at Washington High School for two years and then moved to the Ruritan Building in Montgomery for the next 26 of  27 years with the one exception and that was in 1997 when the Banquet was held at the Gasthof Restaurant in Montgomery.  In 2007 the Right To Life shifted their Banquets to the Simon J. Graber Building and has been there ever since.  Each time it was moved to accommodate the larger crowds that attend the Banquets.

In 1980 Daviess County RTL was put on the Map when our Banquet was held at the Montgomery Ruritan Building as Dr. Jack Willke and Barb Willke spoke to the nearly 500 who attended this event.  The Pro-Life Movement was just coming on the National scene and National CBS send a film crew from Chicago to cover this event.  The State Right To Life President Michelle McRae attended the event along with Congressman Dan Quayle who was running against Senator Birch Bayh made a guest appearance.  Dan Quayle was very pro-life and defeated Senator Bayh and later became Vice President of the United States.  Film clips from that event was seen on National TV on the CBS Morning Show a few days later.  The reason the film crew came was to find out why the grass roots pro-life movement was growing so fast and to gage the impact it might have on the 1980 elections and it did not take long to find out.  The film crew could not get over the large crowd that attended in this rural area and was impressed with Southern Indiana Hospitality.  Banquet Speakers have included major names such as Congressman Bob Dornan, Congressman Henry Hyde, Meadowlark Lemon, Cal Thomas, National RTL President Dr. Jack and Barb Willke, Joe Scheidler and other national figures in the Pro-Life Movement and the national scene.

Daviess County Right To Life Organization has been instrumental in helping other Right To Life Groups in our area to form or to give them a helping hand either with donations or with organizational help for their organization.  Daviess County Right To Life has been very much involved on the State Level as our local President Louis Kavanaugh Jr. has not only served as State President but has also served on the National Right To Life Board of Directors representing Indiana.  Daviess Co. RTL has not only been active in our local area but have been active on State and Federal level as well.  Daviess County Right To Life Organization does not receive funding grants or donations from State or Federal organizations of any kind.  The only source of income for the Organization is from donations from its members, Paper Drives which was started back in 1978 and continues to this day.  Daviess Co. RTL opened an office on Main St. in Washington in the early part of 1998 and  thru the efforts of then President Donna Gentry opened the Pregnancy Care Center in January of 1999.  The Center has now grown where it has it’s own identify and office staff and serves hundreds of individuals each year.  The Pregnancy Care Center and Daviess County Right To Life Organization now share offices in the lower level of the Grace Baptist Church on Troy Road in Washington.

In the 33 years of existence Daviess County Right To Life has only had three Presidents, Bob Johnson from 1976 to 1978, Louis Kavanaugh Jr. from 1978-1995, Donna Gentry from 1995 to 2006 and Louie Kavanaugh Jr. has returned to the office of President in January of 2007 to the present time.  Daviess County Right to Life has been very blessed with so many dedicated people who have given so much of their time and effort for the organization.  Daviess County RTL has promoted life and worked against abortion thru Radio and Newspaper ads, Booths at Fairs and Montgomery Turkey Trot, put on programs at churches and schools and have lobbied our elected officials to support pro-life legislation.  Although we are small in numbers, we have individuals who give it their all for the organization.

Our Organization was hit hard in January of 2012 while honoring Donna Gentry with a Memorial Bench at the site of the First Pregnancy Care Center She suddenly took ill and died a few days later.  It was a shock to the organization and to her family and friends who knew her well.  She was the founder of the Pregnancy Care Center and served as President of the Daviess Co. RTL for 1995-2006 and worked tireless for the organization.  Many projects she undertook was a real shot in the arm not only to the organization but to the pro-life movement.  She ran for State Representative on two occasions and nearly upset a long term incumbent in her first try for public office.

Although we have made history in the past, we truly hope the history we make in the future will be that all lives of the unborn are protected from conception to natural death.  May God Bless our all of us in our work and Bless our Country!