By Debra Moore
There wasn’t an empty seat for the Soroptimist awards dinner held in Quincy on April 27. After a few years hiatus due to COVID, attendees were ready to celebrate the women who make this area a better place to live. Soroptimist Co-presidents Mara Beatty and Tracy Wixted emceed the event which began with a dinner provided by Karen Chance of Backdoor Catering. Then it was time for the awards.
Women in the Arts
Soroptimist Terry Gallagher presented the award to Kim Carroll, acknowledging the latter’s work in the theater and photography. The two have a long history, with Gallagher saying she has known Carroll since high school. In addition to her work at the West End Theatre and her exceptional photos, Gallagher commended Carroll’s strength through the personal challenges of MS and the loss of loved ones.
Women in Business
This award was also presented by Terry Gallagher who called Amy Carey and Susan Ushakoff up to the podium to be honored. The duo own and operate Quincy Provisions which includes Carey Candy Co., the business that Carey founded in 1994, and Bell Lane Baked Goods, which emerged eight years ago, when Ushakoff returned to town. Their store has come to be known as the sweetest corner in Quincy and they provide sweets and treats throughout Plumas County and beyond. Additionally, the duo give back to the community as most recently when they provided shaved ice for the Quincy Little League Opening Day festivities.
Women Helping Our Community
Soroptimist Monica Potter presented the award to Kendrah Fredricksen. Potter named a long list of Fredicksen’s involvements including: CASA, the Behavioral Health Commission, the Plumas County Gay Straight Alliance, PEO (education organization), Dress A Girl program, and her work as the Lutheran minister. When she’s not busy helping others, Fredricksen enjoys hiking and performing with the Dancing Witches, the Star Follies and local theater productions.
Women Helping Students
Soroptimist Sue Gutierrez presented the award to Quincy High School librarian Tracy Kepple. “Her vision as a librarian resulted in so many changes,” Gutierrez said and talked about the new paint scheme, comfortable furniture, new books and more. Of particular significance is the welcoming atmosphere that Kepple provides. When she noticed that many students ate alone in the hallways, she gained permission for students to eat their lunch in the library. “She saw a need for a safe space and envisioned the library as a place that welcomes all students,” Gutierrez said. “It’s a misconception that librarians simply check out books.”
Business Helping Women
This award went to three women involved in Senior Life Solutions, the organization based at Plumas District Hospital, that helps area senior facing various life issues. Soroptimist Tiffany Leonhardt presented the award to Ericka Thompson, Wendy Ferguson and Kristie Rood.
Soroptimist Julie Hagwood presented this award to long-time Plumas Bank employee Sharell Jaramillo. “She is the epitome of an employee,” Hagwood said, noting the perpetual smile on her face as she greets customers.
Penny Pines Awards
These awards are given in recognition of individuals who have died but have left an enduring mark on their communities. Kris Miravalle presented the award in memory of Thelma Dyrr, while Sue Miller honored Eldora Duniphin. Money raised during the year is donated to the Forest Service to plant trees in memory of the deceased.
Thelma Dyrr was a longtime Soroptimist and businesswoman. “She raised her family and her garden,” Miravalle said. “She enriched the lives of the people of Plumas County.
Sue Miller said Duniphin was described as a “domestic goddess” by her family that includes seven children, 12 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, and 7 great, great grandchildren. Additionally she was a PDH Volunteer, a member of the Pink Ladies, St. John’s church, the VFW and more. “She was the sweetest, loveliest lady you have ever known,” Miller said.
Outstanding S-Club Member
This award is voted on by members of the Quincy High School Service Club and was presented to Michael Oravetz by Sue Gutierrez. She said through his efforts, the club expanded to 43 members, and grew its social media presence. “The club has seen a much better turnout” for its events, Gutierrez said, including a recent walkathon.
Violet Richardson Service Award
Soroptimist Sue Gutierrez presented this award to Quincy High School senior Adam Alexander, who is an Eagle Scout, an auxiliary firefighter with the Meadow Valley Fire Department, and is involved in projects benefiting veterans. He is currently working for his EMT certificate and plans a career in aviation to work in medical evacuations.
Live Your Dream Award
This is a cash award designed to help women who have overcome significant obstacles to achieve their educational goals. Soroptimist President Tracy Wixted presented a check for $1,000 to Heather Robinson. Wixted said that a number of qualified applications were received so two $100 checks were also awarded to individuals.
Soroptimist of the Year
Co-presidents Mara Beatty and Tracy Wixted presented the award to a surprised Julie Hagwood. They credited Hagwood, who assumed the presidency right before the pandemic hit, for keeping the club together during that difficult time.