Woman of the Week, Mrs. George Ehlers, Evening Telegram, 1946, April 6, p.8
Twenty-one years ago Mrs. Ehlers came out to this country from her native Denmark with her husband, who came here to open the Newfoundland Butter Factory. Gradually, as she became accustomed to life in the new country, Mrs. Ehlers picked up the threads of social welfare work, and has ever since devoted her energies to the community.
For four years President of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Blind, she has worked untiringly for that organization since its inception in 1935.
“It’s my baby,” Mrs. Ehlers laughed, “we do all sorts of work for it. We do the buying for the Christmas parcels, we buy goods for the hampers, we run bridge parties to raise funds, we hold sales, we organize tag days. I’m in here every day, but on Tag Day we are particularly busy, on the go all day and all night.
A woman of many parts, however, Mrs. Ehlers, an admirable early bird, found life more stimulating with plenty of work, so she turned to the Y. W. C. A. As a worker for that organization Mrs. Ehlers was certainly not exempt from daily duties.
“I’ve been on the Board of the Y. W. C. A. for ten or twelve years,” Mrs. Ehlers said, “helping in whatever way I could, running various affairs, making things for charity.”
Mrs. Ehlers made her war contribution through the W. P. A., and hers was a service that was appreciated all the more because no other could take her place in the work she did. As a Scandinavian she knew the languages and dialects of those countries as well as Portuguese and probably many more that her extreme modesty would not allow her to tell us. She acted as interpreter for many an unfortunate survivor that came to our shores, and as she said, “it did them so much good to hear their own language spoken. It seemed to put new life in them.”
Mrs. Ehlers also served on the Hospital Committee, dispensing woolens and visiting the war wounded. She helped continuously, driving the survivors from the ships to the hospital, and visiting them throughout their convalescence.
“I enjoyed it,” she said, with her warm smile and her still Danish accent, “maybe it is wrong to say that. But the boys would be so pleased and thankful to see us. They always preferred seeing the ladies because we never asked them how it happened and where did they get hit.”
“During the war we were always on call. We could never be given any definite information as to when we might be needed to meet ships. Often after working all day, and all-night too, as likely as not we would have to be roused to meet survivors or to say goodbye to troops going off.”
We all of us worked hard in the W.P.A. When we first started we would be working from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and we all had our homes to remember as well.”
“Some of the survivors would be in a horrible condition and we felt we had to help the men to a better frame of mind as well as to help physical well-being. The main thing was to keep cheerful with them, but not to overdo it.”
“One nice young fellow,” Mrs. Ehlers smilingly revealed “used to joke with me. He had lost both legs, and he always insisted that as soon as he got his new legs he was going to come back and have a waltz with me.”
“Where do I get the time? Oh that, I’m one of these early birds. I like to get the most out of the day and to do that I simply get up good and early.”