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Ten women from who live or work in Butler County will be honored this month for their efforts to enhance local business, education, culture and philanthropy.
The 12th annual Women of Excellence, scheduled for Nov. 15 at Cincinnati Marriott North, is held by the West Chester/Liberty Chamber Alliance each year to honor those who are “exceptional and are making an extraordinary impact” in the area, said Kathy Rambo, the chamber’s vice president.
“They do it because they see that it needs to be done,” Rambo said. “They don’t do it for the acknowledgment or anything like that. They’re always so difficult to interview because they don’t think they’re doing anything special.”
The award started in 2002 by honoring five women a year, Rambo said. That switched to eight in 2005 and increased to 10 in 2008.
“Of the eight, we always had a young woman of excellence, but now that we’re honoring 10 women, two of them are young women of excellence between the ages of 16 and 24,” Rambo said. “It’s a wonderful event because the community, their family, their friends all come out and celebrate with them. It’s a big night.”
This year’s Women of Excellence include:
• Cheryl Brackman, who helped more than 10 community charities by serving on area boards, volunteering, and giving tens of thousands of dollars of her own money to ensure the success of each charity, including Baby Milk Fund, American Cancer Society, Junior League, Girls on the Run and Cancer Family Care.
• Ria Davidson, who co-founded the Dragonfly Foundation in 2010 to meet the patient care needs of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Cancer & Blood Diseases Institute and help children and their families as they deal with a diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
• Melissa Flohn, president of La Crema Coffee, who provided business basics to women-owned businesses and other entrepreneurs, helped many residents gain self-sufficiency at Hope House Rescue Mission in Middletown, and donated, managed volunteers and assisted with opening EDGE Teen Center in Liberty Twp.
• Emily Gilmartin, sales manager for N2 Publishing, who volunteers as an ambassador with the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance and does volunteer work with Butler County United Way, Kindervelt, Building Blocks for Kids and The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty.
• Kim Kuchenbuch, sales manager for Kemba Credit Union, who helps at-risk women and children through a number of charities, including Children’s Miracle Network; Women Helping Women; The Oyler School; and the Boys and Girls Club.
• Anna Lendl, a Lakota West graduate and junior at The Ohio State University, who organized the Kid’s Scavenger Hunt at the Olde West Chester Christmas Walk, co-founded OSU baton twirler-organization Buckeye Twirl and ran 20 events in one year to raise money for charitable organizations as service chair for Off-Lake Productions, the only student–run musical theater organization at OSU.
• Lynda O’Connor, who serves as chamber ambassador and a member of its luncheon and government issues teams and works to address poverty as a member of newly formed Faith Alliance of Southwestern Ohio’s board of directors. O’Connor also jump-started the Faith Alliance Caring Community Caucus, a coalition of government, business, school, and faith leaders that address serious community problems, including drug addiction.
• Molly Savage, a 16-year-old Mt. Notre Dame honors student, who used volunteer work at St. Maximilian Kolbe church to organize fundraising projects that helped purchase and deliver 459 books and school supplies to children in Uganda.
• Betty Terry, who served on the Greater Miami Valley YMCA Board of Trustees from 2004-11 and led major quality-of-life initiatives like the Water Park Capital Project and the Development Committee. Terry’s benevolence helped the Fitton Center for Creative Arts reach wider audiences and impact the city of Hamilton’s economic vitality.
• Gail Webster, who created “Live the Dream: Our Declaration of Unity in West Chester and Liberty Townships and March for Unity in our Community” in the early 1990s to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She also speaks in Ohio and Washington to advocate for people with special needs and volunteers in as a classroom reader in Hamilton City Schools.