Girl Scouts honor 2016 women of distinction at awards gala

honoreesPANAMA CITY – The Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle honored nine Women of Distinction on August 27 during the Awards Gala at the Edgewater Beach & Golf Resort.

“We are honored to recognize the honorees as women who exemplify the mission of Girl Scouts,” stated Raslean M. Allen, Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle, Inc. chief executive officer. “The recipients are women who have distinguished themselves through leadership and community service demonstrating courage, confidence, and character, while making the world a better place,” she continued.

The Pearl Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Carrie Baker, retired educator of Bay County and past board member of the Girl Scout Council of the Apalachee Bend. The Pearl Award is bestowed upon an adult Girl Scout for her significant contributions to the Girl Scout movement in support of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Given in memory of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, the significance of the pearls symbolize the devotion by Low to the success of the start of Girl Scouting which included selling a strand of pearls to fund the early operations.

Ginger Littleton, Bay County School Board member received the Diamond Award, presented to a woman whose contributions to the community embody the vision of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts. The woman honored displays courage, confidence and character while truly making the world a better place.

Joining Dr. Baker and Mrs. Littleton as Women of Distinction Honorees are:

• Dinah Crayton, Crayton Communications: Category Law
• Claire Sherman, General Manager, Lamar Advertising: Category Media
• Jennifer Wolgamott, Senior Manager, ZHA: Category S.T.E.M
• Renee Willoughby, Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center: Category Youth Services
• Tiffani Hinds, United Way of Northwest Florida: Category Social Services
• Eberle Funches, Battleship CrossFit: Category Health & Fitness
• Karen Smith, Beachy Beach Real Estate: Category Community Impact

A program inspired by Girl Scouts nationally, and hosted locally by the Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle, the Women of Distinction awards honor women who truly demonstrate their commitment to the community. The women selected join the 144 women in the Florida Panhandle who have been honored as Women of Distinction since the program’s inception in 1998.

Sarah NicoleThe Awards Gala began at 6 p.m. with a social hour, silent auction and entertainment by local young artist Sarah Nicole. A variety of silent auction items ranged from themed baskets to a weekend stay donated by the Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort. Additionally, the festivities included a live auction of fine jewelry from local jewelers raising funds to support programs and activities for girls in the community. Exquisite pieces were graciously donated by David Scott Fine Jewelry, Creative Gems, Coin and Bullion and Star Gallery.

The dinner and awards program was hosted by Bryan Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Northwest Florida and Janice Lucas, director of the LEAD Coalition at Gulf Coast State College. Included on the agenda was a presentation by Kate Mellete, Girl Scout Cadette Troop 449 and Katharine Murphy, Girl Scout Ambassador Troop 161. Miss Murphy was also named the Rising Young Woman of Distinction and received a scholarship from Perry Young.

"It was an incredible experience and an honor to be nominated," said Dawn Veit.

“It was an incredible experience and an honor to be nominated,” said Dawn Veit.

Also recognized were the women nominated as Women of Distinction nominees, they include:

• Gayle Ahrens – Habitat for Humanity Bay County
• Jasmine Allen – Life Management Center
• Andrea Boutwell-Hess – Scott Ingraham Real Estate
• Jennifer Burke – Central Payment of Panama City
• Teri Cable – Florida Therapy Services
• Terri Davidson – The Wine Dog
• Jeanette Deatherage – Mary Kay
• LaRue Keller – US Army (retired)
• Nancy Luther – Adecco Staffing
• Cynthia McCauley – Chautauqua Charter School
• Ginger Owens – First Baptist Church
• Adrienne Pelletier – Catholic Charities of NWFL
• Pam Perry – Retired
• Jennifer Rader – Mary Kay
• Thelma Rohan – Panama City Orthopedics
• Naomi Sharp – Catholic Charities of NWFL
• Alisa Stone Dennis – Stone Real Estate Group
• Dawn Veit – Veit’s Dairy
• Shonna Young Gay – Fourteenth Judicial Circuit