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Soroptimist announces ‘Women of Distinction’ honors

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Becky Bugge

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Dottie Gilbertson

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Martha LaMont

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Cherie Vannet

Soroptimist International of Hood River will honor Becky Bugge, Dottie Gilbertson, Martha LaMont and Cherie Vannet, this year’s winners of the Women of Distinction Award.

These dedicated local women will be introduced by their nominators at a luncheon in their honor on Wednesday, May 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Columbia Room of the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn. Tickets are $25 and are available at Waucoma Bookstore or by calling Jean Harmon at 541-386-3748.

Each year since 1975, Soroptimist Hood River has asked community members and organizations to honor women in their midst whose work in a professional or volunteer capacity has made a significant difference in the quality of our community.

In nominating Bugge, FISH Food Bank President Marianne Durkan said, “Becky has served as board treasurer for over 13 years and was an active leader in the complicated fundraising effort to build a state of the art food band facility. During that time, she donated thousands of hours to oversee the accounting and financials, she helped write grants and participated in the planning of the building and ordering all the necessary equipment and furnishings. She also is a role model of respect and warmth and as she provides weekly direct service to clients.”

Gilbertson, nominated by the Hood River County History Museum Heritage Council, helped keep the museum on steady footing through several leadership transitions, including serving as interim director. She was a driving force for bringing “Hood River Cemetery Tales” to life and is now its producer and director. She also brought the Oregon Trail story and other pieces of local history to life for Westside Elementary students during her many years as a teacher, and she helped lead the school’s transition to technology “back in the day,” according to former school principal Betty Shalhope.

When LaMont moved to Cascade Locks eight years ago, she brought considerable energy with her, looking forward to making a difference in her new community. She arrived just as the local food bank’s director was leaving, so she joined the board and encouraged the organization to join forces with FISH Food Bank. LaMont is known for finding ways to make things better, whether at the food bank or by adding to the success of Cascade Locks Museum’s “Magical History Tour” fundraising auction. She also joined the Lions Club and is a regular volunteer at the Vista House, where she encourages visitors to drive further east and discover the beauty and fun of Cascade Locks.

For decades, Vannet kept the scoreboards and rules books accurate for nearly every Hood River Valley High School athletic event. She began in the 1970s, when her late husband, Ed, was athletic director. And according to recently retired athletic director Keith Bassham, “When she wasn’t working a game, she was looking for a way to make sure less fortunate kids could get involved in athletics, either by donating equipment or donating funds for athletic scholarships.”

Soroptimist of Hood River, part of Soroptimist International, is a volunteer organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world. To learn more about Soroptimist International, go to www.soroptimist.org. To learn more about Soroptimist International of Hood River, go to soroptimisthoodriver.com.



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