RWA Emma Merritt Service Award

    The RWA Emma Merritt Service Award is presented for the accumulated body of work a member has contributed as a volunteer to RWA. The award is not only for service to individual chapters, but is intended to honor major commitments of service to RWA. A member may receive the RWA Emma Merritt Service Award only once in a lifetime. In the past, the RWA Emma Merritt Service Award has also been known as the Golden Rose and the National Service Award.

    To nominate a member for the RWA Emma Merritt Service Award, click here or e-mail

    2014 RWA Emma Merritt Service Award Recipient
    Trish Milburn

    Trish Milburn

    Trish Milburn writes contemporary romance for Harlequin American Romance, paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne, and young-adult fiction for Bell Bridge Books as well as self-publishing her romantic suspense and women’s fiction titles. She's been an RWA member for 17 years and is a charter member of Music City Romance Writers. After serving several years as an MCRW officer and as newsletter editor, she began volunteering at the national level. She put her journalism background to work as editor of RWA eNotes then later as the liaison to the Romance Writers Report from the Board of Directors. During her five years on the RWA Board, she served first as PRO Liaison and then as a Region 3 Director. Off the Board, Trish has led the Leadership Development Committee.

    She’s a two-time Golden Heart award winner, a fan of walks in the woods and road trips, and is a big geek girl, including being a dedicated Whovian and Browncoat. Fans of Doctor Who and Firefly will know what those terms mean.

    Past Emma Merritt Service Award Recipients

    • 2013: Nancy Haddock
    • 2012: Laura Hayden
    • 2011: Michelle Monkou
    • 2010: Jennifer Crusie
    • 2009: Sherry Lewis
    • 2008: Linda Winstead Jones
    • 2007: Gayle Wilson
    • 2006: Shirley Hailstock
    • 2005: Carol Prescott
    • 2004: Alicia Rasley
    • 2003: Debra Dixon
    • 2001: Libby Hall
    • 2000: Claudia Yates
    • 1999: Janis Reams Hudson
    • 1998: Robin Lee Hatcher
    • 1997: JoAnn Ferguson
    • 1996: Christine Pacheco
    • 1995: Rita Gallagher, Cathie Linz, Debbie Macomber, & Karan Richardson
    • 1994: Margaret Brownley, Patt Marr, & Maggie Osborne
    • 1993: Darlene Layman, Harold Lowry, aka Leigh Greenwood, & Nora Simpson
    • 1992: Emma Merritt
    • 1991: Kathy Clark & Jeanne Triner
    • 1990: Marian Jones
    • 1989: Jan Milella
    • 1988: Jasmine Cresswell & Selwyn Young
    • 1987: Linda Nusser
    • 1986: JoAnn Ross
    • 1985: Marianne Willman

    Historical Note: from 1985 through 1989 the award was known as the Golden Rose. From 1990 through 1995 it was known as the National Service Award.