Women's Wall of Honor 2010

Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women

Wall of Honor 2010

Helen Hunt Rigdon

Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women

2010 Honorees

Judy Boudreaux, Jean Davis Downing, Linda P. Evanchyk, Dr. joyce gillie gossom, Sherry Harlow, Marie Harrison, Laura Hussey, Carol Koch, Karen Lauer, Rosanna G. McCurry, Patricia Moran, Joanna Musser, Eddie Mae Owens, Aimee Shaffer, and Marnie Tate.

 

(Individual descriptions were written at the time of nomination and have not been updated.  Most of these women have gone on to do even more amazing things for their community and their neighbors.)

Judy Boudreaux

 

Judy Boudreaux

Judy Boudreaux seems to never stop her working, serving, leading and achieving to make the world a better place for all of us. She is dedicated and committed to her community through city government, the Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club, her church and the schools. She has been elected repeatedly to the Niceville City Council; the Kiwanis Club has honored her many times; the Chamber named her Citizen of the Year; and her contributions to local schools and her church are well known. Clearly, we all live better because of Judy.

Nominated by Ronald J. Olsen

Jean Downing

Jean Davis Downing

Jean Davis Downing was born March 1, 1945 in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. She is the daughter of the late Henry Grady and Reba Golden Davis and survivor of late husband, Jerry Michael Downing. Jean is the mother of two daughters, Melissa Downing Storey and Christy Downing Gall and proud grandmother of four. From your daughter’s hearts – “Growing up, we learned from you, priceless love. There is no limit to the joy that we share together. For all the times, you’ve brightened our lives, by the thoughtful things you do, and you’ve sacrificed so much for us. We thank you for all your understandings and compassions, for the care you show and the joys you’ve added to our lives. There’s no better friend than a mother, and there’s no better mother than you.”

Nominated by her daughters, Melissa Downing Storey and Christy Downing Gall

Linda Evanchyk

Linda P. Evanchyk

Linda Evanchyk has been a high school journalism teacher for three decades. A graduate of Choctawhatchee High School, she has spent the last 26 years at her Alma Mater. She has a Master’s Degree from the University of West Florida and has been recognized by her colleagues and students over the years, including Choctawhatchee High School Teacher of the Year, Okaloosa School District Teacher of the Year and Florida Journalism Teacher of the Year on two occasions. Her students’ publications have received state and national awards, and many of her former students are now professional journalists. As a lasting symbol of her legacy as a journalism teacher, the Emerald Coast Public Relations Organization created the “Linda Evanchyk Journalism Teacher Award,” which is given annually to a journalism teacher. Linda’s goal is to teach young journalists to use their craft to better the society in which they live.

Nominated by the Journalism Students on the newspaper staff at Choctawhatchee High School

Judy Boudreaux

Judy Boudreaux

Judy Boudreaux seems to never stop her working, serving, leading and achieving to make the world a better place for all of us. She is dedicated and committed to her community through city government, the Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club, her church and the schools. She has been elected repeatedly to the Niceville City Council; the Kiwanis Club has honored her many times; the Chamber named her Citizen of the Year; and her contributions to local schools and her church are well known. Clearly, we all live better because of Judy.

Nominated by Ronald J. Olsen

Jean Downing

Jean Davis Downing

Jean Davis Downing was born March 1, 1945 in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. She is the daughter of the late Henry Grady and Reba Golden Davis and survivor of late husband, Jerry Michael Downing. Jean is the mother of two daughters, Melissa Downing Storey and Christy Downing Gall and proud grandmother of four. From your daughter’s hearts – “Growing up, we learned from you, priceless love. There is no limit to the joy that we share together. For all the times, you’ve brightened our lives, by the thoughtful things you do, and you’ve sacrificed so much for us. We thank you for all your understandings and compassions, for the care you show and the joys you’ve added to our lives. There’s no better friend than a mother, and there’s no better mother than you.”

Nominated by her daughters, Melissa Downing Storey and Christy Downing Gall

Linda Evanchyk

Linda P. Evanchyk

Linda Evanchyk has been a high school journalism teacher for three decades. A graduate of Choctawhatchee High School, she has spent the last 26 years at her Alma Mater. She has a Master’s Degree from the University of West Florida and has been recognized by her colleagues and students over the years, including Choctawhatchee High School Teacher of the Year, Okaloosa School District Teacher of the Year and Florida Journalism Teacher of the Year on two occasions. Her students’ publications have received state and national awards, and many of her former students are now professional journalists. As a lasting symbol of her legacy as a journalism teacher, the Emerald Coast Public Relations Organization created the “Linda Evanchyk Journalism Teacher Award,” which is given annually to a journalism teacher. Linda’s goal is to teach young journalists to use their craft to better the society in which they live.

Nominated by the Journalism Students on the newspaper staff at Choctawhatchee High School

joyce gossom

Dr. joyce gillie gossom

Dr. joyce gillie gossom Dr. joyce gillie gossom is an accomplished leader, educator and community builder. She is a thoughtful, caring member of our community and has made a difference in the lives of students as a teacher and role model. She serves as Associate Dean of University of West Florida Emerald Coast. Dr. gossom received her BS in Special Education from Illinois State University in 1987, Master of Education from Georgia Southern University in 1992 and an Education Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from UWF in 2004. She is co-chair of the UWF leadership studies task force, chairs the UWF strategic planning task force, and is a member of the UWF recruiting and retention and marketing task forces. She was named National Honor Roll Outstanding American Teacher, 2005-2006. Dr. gossom is chair of the community redevelopment agency of Fort Walton Beach.

Nominated by Dr. John Azzaretto, UWF Emerald Coast

Sherry Harlow

Sherry Harlow

Sherry Harlow, APR (Accredited in Public Relations) is a true leader and person you can count on to get a job done. She was a founding member of the Emerald Coast Public Relations Organization in 1992 and has served in many roles in both ECPRO and the Southern Public Relations Federation, which recognized her as the Practitioner of the Year in 2000. As the Marketing Director of Eglin Federal Credit Union, she is highly respected for her 33 years of service, and was recently honored with a state award by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. In addition to her professional and community life, she is a wife and mother of two children.

Nominated by Jean Dutton

Marie Harrison

Marie Harrison

Marie, a retired Okaloosa County school teacher, continues to contribute to this area through her many gardening activities. She is a Master Gardener, nationally Accredited Flower Show Judge, national flower Show Schools Instructor on Horticulture, and a floral Design Instructor. She is the author of four books specific to gulf Coast gardening and a contributing writer to Florida Gardening Magazine, Dave’s Garden Website, and various area newspapers. Marie is an educator, writer, mentor, speaker, and promoter of gardening activities including conservation of national resources, preserving horticultural heritage, protecting the environment, and training youth in these and related fields.

Nominated by Kay Parsons, President, Valparaiso Garden Club

Laura Hussey

Laura Hussey

Laura Hussey has been a broadcast professional on the Emerald Coast since 1995. She was a well-known personality on the country radio station 105.5 The Wolf, and currently works as a reporter for WEAR-TV, Channel 3, covering Okaloosa County. During hurricanes, Laura has been one of the community’s “voices in the storm”, reporting vital information from the Emergency Operations Center. She’s given her time and energy to charitable groups including Covenant Hospice, the American Heart Association, and the United Way. As a reporter, Laura works to tell every side of a story with respect and compassion.

Nominated by Michelle Ferreira

Carol Koch

Carol Koch

Carol Koch has served on Cinco Bayou’s Town Council since 2001 and is Mayor Pro-tem. She was instrumental in acquiring grants through Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program and Commercial Revitalization Grant Program. She is a member of the Town of Cinco Bayou CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). She is serving her second year as president of FWB Medical Center Auxiliary. Her Auxiliary service began in 1996 and she has logged 9,000 hours of service. Carol serves as an elections worker. She is a lifetime member of Beta Sigma Phi (Service Sorority Preceptor Degree). She has served as Presidents of the League of Women’s Voters and American Heart Association. She attends Westminster Presbyterian Church where she has taught Bible classes for 14 years.

Nominated by Nell Dykes

Karen Lauer

Karen Lauer

Karen has done many things to enrich our community. She has provided leadership in diverse ways. She served as Past President of Democratic Woman’s Club and Past President of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. She has been very active with Shelter house, raising funds and serving on the board, teaching courses for the Center for Lifelong Learning and working on various Billy Bowleg’s committees. Her diplomacy, skills, and generous spirit have contributed to the success of the work she has accomplished.

Nominated by Democratic Woman’s Club

Rosanna McCurry

Rosanna G. McCurry

Ms. McCurry is a true southern lady. She is dedicated to family, church and the Order of the Eastern Star. She is a member of Fort Walton Beach Chapter #202 since 1979, serving three times as Worthy Matron, and as Grant Representative, Grant Instructor and numerous other appointments. She has served First Presbyterian Church as deacon for 5 years, pianist, program coordinator, moderator elect, and moderator of Search Committee and Sunshine chairman of Joy Circle for PW women. She is a woman that does not know the word “no” when it comes to giving to others and serving. I am proud she is my OES “Sister” and my fellow church member.

Nominated by Helen Hunt Rigdon

Patricia Moran

Patricia Moran

Patricia Moran, Ph.D. is a scholar, educator and community volunteer. Born on a farm in Nebraska, Pat came to Okaloosa County as a military spouse. A professor at Troy University, Pat’s volunteer efforts in Okaloosa County support social services, education, women’s and minority issues, culture and historic preservation. She is honored and appreciated for her talent, service and sense of humor.

Nominated by Michelle A. Severino

Joanna Musser

Joanna Musser

Joanna proudly proclaims her love for our country. She served 22 years in the Air Force and continues to serve as a civilian through her work as Republican Women of Okaloosa Federated’s “Caring for America Chairman” to encourage members to participate in the “Sew Much Comfort” project for injured troops. Joanna began the “Cookies for Veterans” project at the VA clinic and was instrumental in having a flag folding presentation by the Air Force Honor Guard for the Boys and Girls Club. For the past two years, she assembled new member packets and developed the 2007-2009 scrapbook/press book. She cheerfully fills in whenever or wherever there is a need in the RWOF organization.

Nominated by Republican Women of Okaloosa Federated

Eddie Mae Owens

Eddie Mae Owens

From the beginning of her career, Eddie Mae Owens was a true pioneer for women. She was the first woman to serve as President/ECO of a bank in Okaloosa County; the first woman President of the United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties and the only woman selected from the community’s top civic leaders to participate in a civilian liaison team at the US Air Force’s Hurlburt Field. Although she has received numerous awards, she would be the first one to say that she is most proud of her children and grandchildren. It is also clear that her faith is tremendously important to her.

Nominated by Jackie Woerl

Aimee Shaffer

Aimee Shaffer

Aimee Shaffer moved to the Emerald Coast the summer of 1996, and quickly became involved with volunteering here in the community. Shaffer is celebrating 20 years as an “on air” personality, both in radio and television. In addition to being the public service director and news contact for the Qantum Radio Stations in Destin, she also owns her own in-home professional petsitting business, “Aimee’s Animal Magnetism”, which offers personalized loving care for hundreds of pets in the area. Aimee Shaffer has immersed herself in public service, volunteering with over two dozen local non-profit organizations. She considers herself very blessed to live on the Emerald Coast.

Nominated by Michelle Ferreira

Marnie Tate

Marnie Tate

Marnie has been a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network for 30 years, specializing in various types of financial planning including life insurance, disability, investment and retirement planning and has a passion for long term care planning.

Marnie is the Woman of the Year for the Emerald Coast Chapter of the ABWA. She was the first female President of the FWB Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the task force that brought the 911 Emergency telephone system to our community and served as the first female President of two national organizations. She was inducted into the Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame for her accomplishments.

Nominated by Emerald Coast Chapter of the ABWA