Laura Rench is a Christmas tree farmer and former social worker who has an extraordinary ability to unite people from different economic, racial, and social backgrounds.
As an organizer with The Citizens for the Responsible Destruction of Chemical Weapons, Laura led a campaign which prevented the US Army from shipping VX hydrosylate, a byproduct of VX nerve gas, into the Jefferson Township community of Dayton. She organized hundreds of neighbors to protest the proposal, helped get 35 government entities and community groups to pass resolutions against the proposal, and pressured the county to withdraw a sewage treatment permit for PermaFix. In October 2003, the Army withdrew its proposal to ship the nerve gas to Dayton.
Over the last fifteen years her leadership has defeated a number of attempts by developers to site a landfill in her farming community.
In 2004, Laura received the Ohio Citizen Action Howard M Metzenbaum Award.