Helen Stephens Postage Stamp Initiative
The following is a letter written to The Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee for Stamp Development, U.S. Postal Service, requesting a commemorative stamp to honor Helen H. Stephens, the "Fulton Flash". She was one of our native Callawegians who was quite successful in her personal sports competetion and lent name and organizational skills to the development of women's sporting events both nationally and worldwide. Her accomplishments and contributions are described in detail in the letter below.
For those of you who feel strongly about the contributions of Helen Stephens and would like to see that she posthumously receives the recognition that she richly deserves, a brief letter has been composed, to help you voice your support of this initiative. When completed, it can be mailed to the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, to help them form an opinion about how significant was the contribution of Helen Stephens to the citizens of Callaway County and to the world.
We hope that you will consider supporting this initiative. (click here)
The Kingdom Philatelic Association together with the organizations noted below wish to recommend a commemorative stamp to honor Helen H. Stephens, a lifelong American pioneer and supporter of women's athletics and women's basketball.
In her first public competition in 1935, Helen Stephens broke several women's track and fIeld records at the National Amateur Athletic Union championships. At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, she won the 100m sprint, setting a record that held for 24 years and anchored the 4 X 100m relay, winning two of three events allowed to women.
Her achievements in women's basketball began when she joined the women's All-American Red Head's Basketball Team and became its highest scoring player for the 1937-38 season. In the fall of 1938, she set up her own team, The Helen Stephens Olympic Co-Eds, which played a total of twelve seasons all across the U.S. and in Canada and Mexico.
She was a volulteer women's Olympic coach in 1954 and 1960. She supported Olympic fundraising campaigns, marshaled correspondence on federal legislative matters important to the International Olympic Committee and served its president by speaking to news media on issues signifIcant to women athletes. She publicly supported President Kennedy's fItness campaign and President's Carter's Olympic boycott. She participated in Olympic opening day ceremonies and torch runs and spoke on women's issues: She established several women's sports scholarships and coached women's track and fIeld for her alma mater. She was active in the USOC's Midwest Chapter of Olympians ftom its inception and was a forerunner in behalf of Title lX, the Olympic Association in America, and the nation's health and fItness campaigns and spoke to various other groups, i.e., the Amateur Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, and the Midwest Sex Desegregation Assistance Center.
From 1980 to 1993 she was a torch bearer for the National Senior Olympics and for Missouri's Show-Me State Games, and was a winning medalist in various events. In her last Senior Olympic Games competition (July 1993), Helen won gold and silver medals in her age bracket (70-74) in track and fIeld and other athletic events.
Helen was inducted into one international. four national and four state halls of fame. Upon her death in January 1994, the Missouri state flag flew at half-mast, the Governor of the State of Missouri praised her contributions, and both houses of the Missouri legislature issued resolutions to acknowledged her lifelong athletic achievements. Possible stamp issue years to commemorate Helen H. Stephens could be 2011 or 2012 - both are within a year of the 75th anniversary of her 1936 Olympic debut.