YWCA honors women of achievment

The long list of accomplishments read aloud by Linda Joyce, executive director of YWCA of Kitsap County, at the 14th anniversary Women of Achievement Luncheon Wednesday was substantial. Each of the 15 women’s achievements was impressive separately, but hearing their collective feats in less than an hour was astounding.

This year’s selection of honorees was celebrated for their diverse work throughout the county and beyond. These women counsel troubled teens and help elementary school students learn to read. They lead Girl Scout troops and work with the legislature to reform laws. They lead large firms and raise funds for scholarships. And they still find time to raise children.

As Joyce introduced each woman, telling about her extensive work within the community, there was no doubt that every woman on that stage was more than deserving of recognition.

Mayor Cary Bozeman was on hand to introduce keynote speaker county commissioner Chris Endresen, who was also one of this year’s Women of Achievement. Endresen reflected on the women of the past she admired,

sharing her favorite tales of trailblazers like Katherine the Great, Rosa Parks and Wilma Mankiller. She noted these women for rising above their common backgrounds and overcoming struggles, much like the Kitsap County women also recognized that day.

Endresen also mentioned the importance of nurturing future leaders, and becoming a mentor or a role model for younger generations.

“Recognize your opportunity leave this world a little bit better place than when you found it,” she told the audience at the Bremerton High School Performing Arts Center.

Two of last year’s Women of Achievement, Megan La Ferriere and Natalie Bryson, assisted Joyce in awarding plaques to 2003 honorees.

The 2003 Women of Achievement are:

l Kathleen Byrne-Barrantes, environmentalist, Sinclair Inlet Restoration

l Commander Teresa S. Bandur-Duvall, commanding officer, Naval Computer and Telecommunications, Station Puget Sound

l Oletha Carter-James, social worker, Department of Social and Health Services

l Chris Endresen, commissioner, Kitsap County

l Gail Fleming, president, Drury Construction Co.

l Joanne Haselwood, chairman, Board of Directors, Admiral Theatre Foundation

l Marilyn Jones, president, Central Kitsap School District PTSA Council

l Lucy Konizeski, crisis counselor, Crisis Clinic of Kitsap County

l Nancy Moen, Mrs. Claus and community volunteer

l Mercy G. Montero, registered nurse, Harrison Hospital – Silverdale

l Ardis Morrow, community and childrens’ advocate

l Renee Overath, community education specialist, Central Kitsap School District

l Opal Robertson, co-founder, Embassy Educational Center

l Dona Shaw, owner, Park Place Daycare Center

l Sue Shultz, detective, Bremerton Police Department.

“It’s nice to be recognized,” Gail Fleming said. “I’m honored to be among so many of the achievers in the county.”

Opal Robertson echoed Fleming’s sentiments.

“It was a real honor,” Robertson said after receiving her plaque.“It was really inspirational to me.”

The luncheon began with a silent auction as lunch was served in the commons area just outside the theater. Though it’s been held at PSNS and Bangor subbase in recent years, recently heightened security at both led to the change in location.

“The event was just perfect,” Joyce said afterwards.

It took a committee of five about five hours to select this year’s 15 candidates from a pool of 65 nominees. For Joyce, who’s hosted in previous years as well, the best part of the event is when she is finally able to see these women face to face.

“I don’t get to meet the honorees until the day of the event,” Joyce said. “Getting to see them is just wonderful to me. I’m meeting women who I just totally admire.”

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