SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


"Women of Distinction" To Be Honored
Major fundraiser for WISH


September 17, 2009

Ketchikan, Alaska - In its second year of honoring women for their contributions to improving the lives of women and children in the community, Ketchikan's Women In Safe Homes (WISH) has chosen four "Women of Distinction" for 2009. The honorees this year are Yvonne Watson, Karen Eakes, Kathy Fitzgerald and Sher Schwartz.

jpg "Women of Distinction" for 2009

"Women of Distinction" for 2009
Yvonne Watson, Sher Schwartz,
Karen Eakes and Kathy Fitzgerald.

A gala dinner to honor the women is scheduled for Sept. 26 at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. The event is the major fundraiser for WISH and drew more than 300 people to the event last year. Women honored last year were Mimi Eddy, Linda Schrack, Janet Duncan, Bett Jakubek, and special posthumous recognition for Esther Shea.

The honorees this year represent a wide range of community involvement in many areas. Their names were submitted by community members and selected by a WISH committee of board members and community volunteers.

The "Women of Distinction" honored this year are:


Yvonne Watson was nominated primarily for her gift of giving. Watson helped to start up and maintain the Salvation Army Food Commodity Program. The service provides food for up to 150 Ketchikan and Saxman families each month. She supervises about 6 children and 6 adults who help organize, box and distribute food to those who need it.

She is also active in Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp #15 in Saxman, as ANS camp president in 2009, the Cape Fox Dancers, a 14-year volunteer in the Headstart program, and as a volunteer grandparent in the Saxman Headstart school.


Karen Eakes was nominated for her commitment to youth through a variety of organizations, including her lifetime profession as a teacher, membership on the Ketchikan school board, presidency of the Ketchikan Education Association, her involvement in Ketchikan Theater Ballet, Ketchikan Wellness Coalition, Cape Fox Heritage Foundation, Patchworks, and as one of several people who helped found the Tongass School of Arts and Sciences.


Kathy Fitzgerald was nominated for such wide-ranging activities as her many, many roles within her church, leading, directing and advising for First City Players, her leadership on local and state levels with Special Olympics, mentoring through Community Connections, membership in the Ketchikan Relief Society, and recent certification in respite care for in-home living.


Sher Schwartz was nominated not only for her role in education at the University of Alaska Southeast teaching Humanities, English, Communications and Philosophy, but also for her leadership in many non-profit organizations to which she provides both financial commitment and also organizational and support skills. She also formed a loose-knit group open to all women in the community called "Dynamic Women of Ketchikan" that gathers together for a variety of outdoor, intellectual and artistic activities.

The awards banquet to honor this year's "Women of Distinction" begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. The evening includes a no-host bar, silent auction, musical entertainment and a four-course catered dinner. Tickets are $50 per person or $480 to reserve a table of eight. Tickets may be obtained by calling 225-9474.

Advertising or messages of congratulations can also be purchased for the evening's program book.

Funds raised from the event will support WISH prevention and intervention efforts, providing services to those affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse in Ketchikan and other southern southeast Alaska communities.

WISH offers crisis intervention, advocacy and support, housing, legal advocacy, safe shelter, support and educational groups, prevention education, a youth arts program, community education and training, law enforcement, medical and court accompaniment, and rural outreach programs.

For more information about WISH or the Women of Distinction event, call Executive Director Naomi Michalsen, Lauren Mirsky and Cheryl Dewitt in the Business Office at 225-9474.



Source of News:

Women in Safe Homes


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