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Soroptimist of the Sierras club president Joelle Rule and Madera County Supervisor Tom Wheeler congratulate club charter member, Ann Topham on 50 years of sisterhood and service

Doing What’s Best For Women And Girls

Local Soroptimists line up for a photo op

BASS LAKE — Under a sweeping canopy of tiny lights in the Lakeview Room above The Pines Resort, we gathered to celebrate the lasting imprint of women on the fabric of our community, as the local Soroptimist organization marked five decades of sisterhood and service.

On Sunday, May 20, a luncheon was held to honor the special occasion. It was a perfect opportunity for women of all ages and backgrounds, from around the country, to mill about before the program began — laughing, hugging and reminiscing.

Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization founded in 1921, with approximately 95,000 members in 120 countries and territories. Soroptimist members belong to local clubs which determine community focus projects and programs in addition to supporting organization-wide programs, all of which benefit women and girls.

Soroptimist International of the Sierras was founded in 1968.

L to R: Sandy Brinley, Dannie Forbes, Ann Topham, Cass Adelsbach, Tara Ryan, Dianne Abney, Peggy Davis, Club President Joelle Rule

In a special ceremony, seven Soroptimist members were recognized for their long-standing service to the community: Peggy Davis – 25 years, Tara Ryan and Sandy Brinley – 28 years each, Cass Adelsbach – 30 years, Dianne Abney – 31 years, Dannie Forbes – 40 years, and Ann Topham – Charter Member 50 years.

In addition to celebrating the 50th Anniversary, two young women were honored with the 2018 ‘Live Your Dream College Scholarships for Women’ Awards.

Michele Ciccozzi and Brittany Caldwell each graciously accepted the cash scholarship, made possible by the annual Soroptimist fundraisers, and enhanced by the inclusion of $100 gas gift cards. Both have shown a fierce determination to improve their lives through hard work and education, for themselves and their families, and were rewarded with $1000 each to help them continue on their way.

2018 Women of Distinction award recipient Gina Clugston of Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online’s own publisher and editor, Gina Clugston, was given the 2018 ‘Women of Distinction’ Award for her continual efforts, now spanning six years, to keep the communities of the Central Sierra informed with up-to-the-minute news through website.

Home of headline news and great stories, with a vibrant community events scene, SNO has grown to the number one news source in the area, with nearly 7.5 million page views and 787,000 users in 2017.

Friends and family were in attendance to support and congratulate each of the women represented at the podium, and that was true for Gina’s table, as she was flanked by her husband Dale Clugston on one side, and on the other, the all-female SNO team. Receiving the Soroptimist Women of Distinction Award, notes Gina, is an overwhelming honor.

2018 Women Helping Women award recipient Kristen Fiester

The Women Helping Women Award was presented to Kristen Fiester of Mountain Crisis Services, an indispensable nonprofit organization based in Mariposa and serving Eastern Madera County, as well.

Mountain Crisis Services and its associated programs seek to prevent domestic and sexual violence by advocating for positive changes, fostering understanding through community education, and providing services that empower victims of abuse and their children.

Soroptimists welcomed Gail Dekreon, the Incoming Governor for their region, as the luncheon’s inspirational Keynote Speaker. Ducey’s restaurant catered the buffet-style meal, which featured an abundance of brunch delectables, supplemented by a no-host bar. The tables were artfully decorated to reflect the classy invitations, with tall candles, flowers and even feathers, in precious metal tones.

Speaking of precious metals, Soroptimists want to thank the following sponsors: Gold — Designs by Christine Smith; Silver — SierraTel.com, Mark Wallo Pump Service, and Tom Wheeler; and Bronze — Miller & White CPAs.

Interested in becoming a new member? Contact Club President Joelle Rule for more information.

L-R Incoming Region Governor Gail Dekreon, Region Governor Tana Elizondo, District Director Janet Manos, 2018 Women of Distinction Gina Clugston, 2018 Women Helping Women Kristen Fiester, Live Your Dream Recipient Brittany Caldwell, Club President Joelle Rule (not pictured: Live Your Dream Recipient Michele Ciccozzi)

Human Rights & Status of Women Chair Cass Adelsbach, 2018 Women Helping Women Kristen Fiester, Madera County Supervisor Tom Wheeler, Club President Joelle Rule

L-R Joelle Rule, Live Your Dream Recipient Michele Ciccozzi, Madera County Supervisor Tom Wheeler

Live Your Dream Recipient Brittany Caldwell

Soroptimist of the Sierras members gather for a photo op

L-R Sandy Brinley, Dannie Forbes, Tara Ryan, Ann Topham, Cass Adelsbach, Dianne Abney, Peggy Davis

Club President Joelle Rule, Club Membership Chair Elaine Aleshire, New Member Deb Sprinkle, Region Governor Tana Elizondo, Region Membership Chair Amory Marple

Photographs courtesy of Joelle Leder Photography.


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