Four Kingsport women are among a dozen to be honored April 19 during the YWCA’s Tribute to Women. Each year, the YWCA Bristol honors women from the region for their contributions to the artistic, cultural, educational and charitable facets of the area. This program empowers women by providing corporations, organizations and businesses the opportunity to publicly recognize their outstanding achievements. A panel of out-of-state judges considered nominees from the fields of art, business, education and community service.
This year’s recipients in the arts category are:
• Ruth Jerauld “Jerry” Hill Goodpasture. Since 1977, Goodpasture’s “primary initiative has been to cultivate and enhance the arts community and provide a higher quality of life for all of Bristol.” Goodpasture has supported the arts through the Bristol Ballet Company, Bristol Arts Council, Believe in Bristol’s Arts and Entertainment District, Arts Alliance of the Mountain Empire, Art in Public Places and Birthplace of Country Music Alliance Capital Campaign Committee. She helped create a mission for the Arts and Entertainment District Steering Committee: “To promote and advocate the District in order to boost Bristol’s creative economy and cultural tourism, and collaborate to develop, encourage and enhance ideas that cultivate Bristol’s creativity” — a mission she continues to live by.
• Sarah K. Davis. Davis takes pride when she sees that “something is happening in children’s internal landscape that is adding texture and color.” Davis began the Arts Corps program in 2005, offering underprivileged children in Johnson City and Washington County after-school classes in dance, visual arts, poetry, music and theater. The program has grown and now serves more than 600 youth each year. Her impact is clear. The Johnson City Area Arts Council now manages 28 programs, up from three when she began providing leadership. Davis has been appointed by the Tennessee Arts Commission to be in charge of funding for the five-county area served by the Johnson City Area Arts Council.
• Margaret D. Helvey. A member of the Kingsport Art Guild for more than 16 years, Helvey is “dependable and faithful to whatever commitment she has made.” Helvey has held the position of gallery chairman since 1998. In that role, she dramatically increased the culture of art in the Kingsport community by filling the Renaissance Center each month with exhibits from different artists. She is responsible for every detail, including reviewing the art, paperwork, rules for display, assisting in placement and hanging the artists’ works, and promotion and marketing. Additionally, Helvey has chaired the Members’ shows, Fun Fest shows and selected judges, ribbons and sponsors for the shows.
Recipients in the business category are:
• Kathi Lowe. Lowe’s personal philosophy is “to provide a place for others to bring their gifts because no one person has all the answers.” Living by this has enabled her to have great business success while positively impacting the community in which she lives. Lowe has worked with area resources and played an integral part of the creation of a food pantry, free medical care program, a heating assistance program, a pharmacy program and a clothing warehouse, all of which were started in direct response to a community need. Lowe has received numerous awards related to her leadership and her work in the community, in addition to her role as leader of the second Poverty Summit with area ministers to match community needs to other local/state providers.
• Ann Fleming. “Integrity, service, leadership and excellence” are qualities exalted by Mountain States Health Alliance, but they are mirrored in Fleming, a MSHA employee. In 1991, she received the Army Commendation Medal for her service to our country in Desert Storm as an operating room nurse with the 475th MASH unit. She has launched major service lines in several hospitals. She is a member of the American College of Health Care Executives, the Association for Operating Room Nurses, the Association of Nursing Executives and the Medical Group Management Association. Fleming has volunteered as an examiner for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence, and is a board member of the Virginia SPQA and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, in addition to her role as head of operations for MSHA Virginia hospitals.
• Virginia Frank. Frank, president of Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, began her career in hospital admissions and information services while working her way through college. Though her studies in business and leadership gave her many career options, she remained focused on health care. “I wanted to work in a field where I could help people,” she says. “Health care allows me to do that.” After moving to a hospital in Florida, Frank’s work ethic and desire to grow caught the attention of Denny DeNarvaez, the hospital’s chief financial officer. The two women have worked together for 20 years, running hospitals and health systems in Florida, Minnesota and Missouri. While in St. Louis, Frank was the driving force in creating PULSE, the area’s first awareness program for women’s heart health. With decades of business experience and excellence, Frank maintains her guiding principle. “You have to love what you’re doing,” she says. “Learn, work hard and enjoy it. That’s the secret.”
Recipients in the education category are:
• Dr. Rosalind Reichard. Since the beginning of her tenure as president, Reichard has encouraged the Emory & Henry community to believe that it could be a national model for service learning. In 2010, Emory & Henry was named one of six recipients of the President’s Award, which is the highest national recognition for service learning. Under Reichard’s leadership, the school has also been recognized by Newsweek magazine, USA Today and Washington Monthly. Emory & Henry was named among the top 25 liberal arts institutions in the nation. “The history of Emory & Henry will mark President Reichard as not only its first female president, but the president who transformed the institution during challenging times from a small, high-quality regional college to a national model for academic excellence built on serving people well beyond its campus borders.”
• Mary Anne Sowers. A true leader and pioneer in the arts and arts education, Sowers was the first certified elementary school teacher in Tennessee to acquire the Tennessee State Dance Certification Endorsement by the Tennessee State Education Department of Teacher’s Licensure. Sowers, a former dancer, served as artistic director of the Bristol Ballet Co. She was also director of Hardinge Ballet Center and has served on the board of directors for Regional Dance America and the Southeastern Association of Ballet. Sowers is a forerunner in the field of arts integration, teaching creative movement, dance and arts integration to more than 550 elementary public school children at Mountain View Elementary School in Johnson City.
• Susan Lodal. Dedicating her life to the education of children, Lodal has become a resource for not only other local educators, but also for state representatives and officials as a member of the Kingsport Board of Education. In 2006, she became a Tennessee School Boards Association Master School Board Member, which is the highest level that can be achieved. In 2008, she was awarded the Tennessee Economic Council on Women E-award for having distinguished herself in a field that has contributed to improving the lives of girls and women in Tennessee. She also received the highest recognition for service as a school board member in 2010: the Tennessee School Board Member of the Year. Lodal has a personal mission statement that reads: “To develop lifelong learners in a culture where leadership is fostered and children are valued, respected and encouraged to learn through exploration and inquiry,” and those who work with Lodal say that these are more than words. These are actions that she puts in place through everything she does.
Recipients in the volunteer/community service category are:
• Dr. Theresa S. Emory. Emory takes the word “care” to a whole new level when it comes to serving her community. In 2011, she chaired the United Way of Russell and Washington Counties Campaign Cabinet, and led the community to raise $1 million in excess of its goal. During the campaign, she worked to promote the Backpacks Unite Program enabling more than 340 backpacks to be packed each week for children at 17 area elementary schools. Emory also has impacted the area by establishing the University of Virginia Alumni Club of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee, which has provided scholarships to more than 60 students from the region. She has volunteered at Southwestern Harvest Food Bank, Abuse Alternatives of Bristol and, through her medical practice, she donates medical care to Healing Hands of Bristol and Crossroads Medical Mission. As a wife, mother and professional, the magnitude of her involvement in the community certainly speaks for itself.
• Theresa Shaw. A Girl Scout volunteer for seven years, Shaw has grown from a novice leader to a thought-provoking, respected leader. Girl Scouts have recognized Shaw with several awards including Leadership Development, Outstanding Volunteer, Outstanding Leader and the Appreciation Pin which is approved by the Council board. Directly attributable to Shaw’s consistency in helping new troops getting started or newly registered girls being placed and training volunteers, there has been a marked growth in interest and activity. Shaw holds the positions of troop leader, service unit manager, and delegate for the Washington County Tennessee service unit area of the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians. She also is president-elect for the Johnson City Council of PTAs, on a five-year planning committee for the school board and on the board for the PTA at Indian Trail Middle School.
• Bertina S. Dew. Dew’s greatest strengths have been said to be “that of a visionary with a servant leadership style.” Dew holds a master’s degree in art therapy, which gives her a deep sense for the need for art in the lives of individuals. In 1998, she took leadership of Kingsport Ballet in an effort to preserve an organization that offered a unique product to the community. Under her leadership, Kingsport Ballet’s annual budget has more than quadrupled. She was active in Rotary and, through Rotary, Habitat for Humanity, while at the same time active in school activities with her three daughters. Dew has served as the volunteer executive director of the Kingsport Ballet for the past 13 years. Her leadership philosophy implies a comprehensive view of the quality of people and a community spirit.
Tickets to the awards banquet will be available at www.ywcabristol.org or calling 968-9444. Support of the YWCA through Tribute to Women directly affects women, children and families in this region as the YWCA tackles the community issues of affordable childcare, racial justice, teen pregnancy, youth development and technology education.