Award winning women

As a way to recognize and honor professional women from both the private and public sectors from the region, the YWCA Minot hold their annual Women of Distinction Award Banquet at the end of this week. Women who have demonstrated excellence, leadership and integrity in their fields and in the community, serving as role models for other successful women will be honored.

The 21st annual YWCA Minot Women of Distinction Awards Banquet will be held Friday at the Grand Hotel, starting at 6 p.m. to recognize and honor deserving women for their contributions in Business, Community Service, Education, Military, Young Women of Today and Tomorrow, Faith Community, Volunteer Service and Lifetime Achievement. Additionally, one honoree from each county served including Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, McLean, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville and Ward will also be recognized. Businesses that promote the mission of the YWCA will be honored as well.

Winners of the 2014 YWCA Women of Distinction Award include Linda F. Johnson, Businesswoman; Terri Tingley, Community Service; LaVonne Beyerle, Education; Rev. Kari Williamson, Faith Community; Second Lieutenant Alexandra Stormer, Military; Bonnie Helm, Rural-McHenry County; Sue Hendrickson, Rural-McLean County; Diane K. Witteman, Rural-Renville County; Cody Roteliuk, Rural-Ward County; Jacqueline M. Thomas, Professional; Patsy Anderson, Volunteer Service; Elizabeth Ryan, Young Woman of Today and Tomorrow; Sandra Starr, Yvonne Schultz Lifetime Achievement; and the Mouse River Rollers, Organization.

Aaron Hughes, YWCA board member, said there will be an emcee at the Women of Distinction Awards Banquet as well as different speakers. Also featured will be a few YWCA shelter residents describing their experience at the shelter, she added. Additionally, the event will feature an invocation given by one of the Women of Distinction award recipients, the women honored will receive their awards and raffle prizes will be given. “It’s a fun and inspiring evening,” Hughes said.

Nominations from across the region of North Dakota were solicited to find leaders whose work has made an impact on their communities. Hughes said a lot of times, past Women of Distinction award winners will nominate someone. “We reach out to different communities to get a pool of applicants and then we decide which applicants should be awarded,” she added.

Typically, a person has not been awarded the Woman of Distinction honor more than once, Hughes said, although the YWCA does not have any set rules against it and there haven’t been any repeat winners. The list of Women of Distinction winners from 1993, its first year, had eight women. Now the list has 14 women on it, she added. “It’s nice to see that many women nominated and we must be doing something right,” Hughes said.

The YWCA Minot hosted a social for this year’s Women of Distinction award winners April 1 at Sweet ‘N Flour Patisserie. The social has become a part of their yearly Women of Distinction event planning due to its popularity among those attending. According to YWCA board member Sana Keller, “This is a special time where the winners have the opportunity to meet each other, and we, as the YWCA board members, get to meet them as well. The night of the banquet is a busier time, especially for the award winners and their guests.”

Hughes said the Women of Distinction Awards Banquet is held to recognize extraordinary women in the community. “We want to give back to the women who contribute their time and talent,” she added. The banquet is also a fundraiser for the YWCA, Hughes continued, so a portion of the ticket sales from the banquet come back to the YWCA and keeps their doors open. “It’s just a way to recognize their time and effort they have put into their communities,” she said. “A lot of the attendees are there for particular women. It’s fun to see a table full of women there to support them.”

Memberships to the YWCA Minot are available for individuals, organizations and businesses. Membership dues support the day-to-day functioning of the shelter. To become a member, people are encouraged to contact the Minot YWCA at 838-1812 or