“I’m a peacemaker, just ask anyone,” said Rosemerry Allen as she posed with the peace poles near Southfield City Hall.

“I’m a peacemaker, just ask anyone,” said Rosemerry Allen as she posed with the peace poles near Southfield City Hall.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Activist works for good of Southfield after learning that charity begins at home

By: Kathryn Pentiuk | Southfield Sun | Published April 24, 2024


SOUTHFIELD — “If you need something, Rosemerry will always help you out.”

That is what Mayor Siver says of Rosemerry Allen, a longtime Southfield resident and community activist. He added that she also has a “wicked sense of humor.”

Allen moved to Southfield nearly 30 years ago, and since then, she has immersed herself in the community, finding herself involved in everything from serving as president for two different parent-teacher associations while her children attended Southfield Public Schools to serving for 22 years on the Parks and Recreation Commission to serving the Southfield Emergency Management Community Emergency Response Team since 2012.

Allen has been on the Parks and Recreation Commission for so long that she often finds herself giving new directors a history lesson on how things were done in the past.

“It’s great seeing all the different directors come on. And they’ll say, ‘Well, no, we don’t do this.’ But we used to. They say, ‘That’s right. Rosemerry has been on here forever.’ And I want to say, ‘Yeah, but I still look good,’” Allen joked.

Allen’s other community involvement includes being a precinct delegate, the president of the Hiawatha Neighborhood Association, and corresponding secretary for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force for 23 years. She’s a graduate of the Southfield Citizen’s Police Academy, and a member of the Southfield Historical Society, the League of Women Voters, the Southfield Community Coalition, the Southfield Community Anti-Drug Coalition, the Southfield Police Citizens Advisory Board, the Detroit NAACP, and more.

In addition to her activism and giving back to the community, Allen is an FCC-licensed amateur radio operator and a vocalist.

Councilwoman Yolanda Haynes met Allen before she moved to Southfield. They were both working as leaders for the Junior Great Books program at the Detroit Public Library when their children were little.

“I call her Miss Southfield. She’s just been an all-around person, always showing up, helping out, being a part of things. She’s got a bubbly personality and is such a good person. She’s always been like that, as long as I’ve known her,” Haynes stated.

Allen will be the first to admit that she doesn’t know how she balances her many activities and personal life, but her childhood helped her in learning how. Growing up in Detroit as the oldest daughter in a family of nine children, Allen was her mother’s right hand. She helped care for her younger siblings while working and going to school.

“It’s like, that’s how it works. If I’m super busy with stuff, I can get things done. I was going to school and maintained an A average. I was working as a teenager for the top major, still the No. 1 automotive company in the world, General Motors, and I was able to do that, help my mom, who was very sick, help my dad, who had gotten sick, and still maintain the house. And I was only a child myself.”

At the age 22, Allen lost both of her parents within months of each other. She helped to raise her seven younger siblings.

“All of that was preparing me for what my life would be. And you heard the saying: ‘What would Jesus do?’ And I said, ‘What would my parents say about everything that I’ve accomplished, even without them?’ Because I never knew I was going to be parentless at 22. And it was tough. It was challenging. But I got through it.”

Allen had always been fascinated by engineering, but her high school counselor had advised her to become a secretary instead. She worked at GM for 37 years, progressing from a secretary to a statistical engineer analyst, thus proving her high school counselor wrong. She retired from GM 15 years ago. Allen holds a bachelor’s degree in applied science from Central Michigan University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is a graduate of the Detroit Bible Institute, with a certificate in foundational biblical studies and advanced biblical studies. Allen became an ordained minister in 2019 and founded a nonprofit ministry in 2020 called Heart of Hearts Ministries.

“During the pandemic, the good Lord and I had a conversation. He said, ‘OK, you can’t go to church now, so this is a teachable moment. How are you going to worship?’ Because a lot of us felt that the church is a building. But the church is supposed to be here in your heart. And wherever you are, that’s the church. So that’s when he told me and encouraged me to do my own nonprofit.”

Now, on Sunday mornings, you won’t find Allen at church.

Instead, she’s in the homeless communities to feed them and provide them with hygiene kits. She visits jails, prisons and nursing homes. Her outreach is done with funds from her own pocket, as well as donations and volunteers from those who’ve heard of her work by word of mouth.

In 2017, while on a walk, Allen helped rescue an AT&T lineman who fell off a pole. She didn’t see the fall happen but heard a cry for help. Acting quickly, she called 911 and stayed with the injured man, using tactics she’d learned from the Citizen’s Police Academy to keep him alert. She was able to retrieve his emergency card and contact his family.

Allen has been honored with numerous awards, such as the Coleman-Meier Volunteer Service Award from the Oakland County Democratic Party in 2023, the Oakland County Sheriff Bouchard Chaplain Volunteer of the Year in 2019, the 2018 MLK Community Service Award by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force, and the 2019 Greg Kennedy Community Service Award, which is the highest civilian award in Southfield.

Despite all of that, Allen said her greatest achievement is being a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a loved one and a friend to many. She shared that her greatest memories are of her parents, her late brother and many loved ones. She added that her greatest hero is God.

For more information on Heart of Hearts Ministries, contact hofheartsmin20@gmail.com.