Women's Wall of Honor 2014Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women
2014 Wall of Honor
Sam Seevers greeting arrivals.
Jeanne Reif and Becky Belcher
Shirley Pigott and Tammy Magee
Valerie McLaughlin and Ouida Winters
Ranae E. Curtis
Commissioner Don Amunds
Historian Jeanne Reif
Helen Hunt Rigdon
Chair Valerie McLaughlin
Bev Bain & Helen Hunt Rigdon
Ranae E. Curtis
Ranae Curtis with her friends
Bev Bain, Dr. Naomi G. Barnes, Becky Belcher, Sallye N. Belton, Regina Bright, Ginger Boyd, Ranae E. Curtis, Margaret Mae Garrett, Tammy Magee, Char McElderry, RN, Christie Owens, Jackie Pilcher, Judi Rutland, Lisa Snuggs, Janie Varner, Ginger Walker, Ouida Winters, Carol Wride.
(Individual descriptions were written at the time of nomination and have not been updated since. Most of these women have gone on to do even more amazing things for their community and their neighbors.)
Bev Bain is a long-time member of the American Business Women’s Association-Emerald Coast Chapter. She has served ABWA in many roles, including chapter Membership Chair and Boat Poker Run Dock Chair, and was named Woman of the Year in 2004. Bev’s love of her West Highland terrier, Dixie, led her to become involved in many local organizations. With Dixie by her side, Bev volunteered with the Emerald Coast FURever Friends Pet therapy, the Children’s Bereavement Program, Pet Partner Pet Therapy and the Reading Education Assistance Dog Program. Bev and Dixie brought much joy into the lives of all those with whom they interacted.
Nominated by Tammy Magee
Dr. Naomi G. Barnes
Dr. Naomi G. Barnes was the first African-American female principal in the Okaloosa County School District. She was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and graduated from Sam M. Brinkley High School in 1968. In 1974 she graduated from Jackson State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a minors in Music and History. After teaching for one year in Dade County, Dr. Barnes was granted a fellowship to earn her Master’s Degree from Nova University in 1978. In 1994 she earned her PhD in Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. That year she became principal of Edwins Elementary School in Fort Walton Beach.
Nominated by Felton C. Barnes
Becky Belcher worked for Choctaw Engineering for 34 Years before retiring in 2009. Becky became a member of the American Business Women’s Association Emerald Coast Chapter In September 1984. She served in many roles including chapter president, and was named Woman of the Year in 1996. Becky is a Board Member for the Emerald Coast Concert Association, where she served three terms as President. Becky has been involved with many charitable organizations events. She has volunteered with American Cancer Society, Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, and Taylor Haugen Foundation. Becky is the woman who always gives of herself, and is admired by all that come in contact with her.
Nominated by Tammy Magee
Sallye Belton is one of Fort Walton Beach’s unsung heroes. She joined American Business Women’s Association in 2002. Since joining she has held various important leadership positions including Vice President, Secretary, Scholarship Chair and Hospitality Chair. She has also served on the Fundraising and Nominating committees. Mrs. Belton has volunteered to be a recruiter for Eglin AFB, selecting our next generation workforce, and she is a member of the Eglin AFB mentorship program. She truly believes in service before self as shown by her volunteer efforts with the Children in Crisis center, where she tutors twice a week.
Nominated by McKinley Belton
Regina Bright, MS, LMHC, BCST, is highly motivated, dedicated and professionally equipped with broad-based years of experience in counseling, social work, and psychotherapy. She shows exemplary case management skills and keen expertise in diagnosis of mental health disorders. She is accustomed to working with multidisciplinary groups and other health professionals, and often works with licensed psychologists and therapists in crisis intervention and case management situations. Regina receives greatest satisfaction when her psychological counseling for children, adults and families is concluded. She is also a Florida Supreme Court Family Mediator.
Nominated by Patricia H. Payne
Ginger Boyd, University of Florida (BA, 1996) and Florida State University (JD, 2000), is partner at Broad and Cassel. She was named a Rising Star on the Florida Super Lawyers list by Law & Politics magazine for five years in a row and is involved in a variety of professional and community organizations, including the Junior League of the Emerald Coast, Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women, Destin Board of Adjustment, Okaloosa-Walton County Bar Association and Rotary International. Ginger is not only a successful businesswoman, she is a loving wife, mother, and an accomplished leader in the community.
Nominated by the Junior League of the Emerald Coast
Ranae E. Curtis
Ranae E Curtis graduated from Choctawhatchee, then returned to Fort Walton as a permanent resident in 1977. Her leader-ship skills and compassion for others are well applied in her directorship of “Our Daily Bread” soup kitchen at Trinity United Methodist Church. Last season more than 15,000 hot lunches were served to those in need. Ranae also participates faithfully in the Charity Bowling League. She shares her musical gifts with the community first through the Fort Walton Community Chorus and now through the Phyllis Merritt Singers. Worship at Trinity is also blessed with her presence in the Choir and in the Morning Praise Ensemble.
Nominated by Shirley Pope
Margaret Mae Garrett
Her obituary was titled, “Garrett’s Legacy: A Lifetime of Business,” but it carried only a hint or two that a truly remarkable woman had died – just a few words to sum up a lifetime that spanned two World Wars, the Great Depression and the shaping of modern-day Okaloosa County. Following the death of her husband in 1937, she and her four children moved to Crestview. Raising her children by herself, “Garrett’s Legacy” began. Her business ventures included real estate, delivering coal by wagon, delivering the first Pensacola News Journal, running a Bowling Alley and Garrett’s Men & Boys Wear, and building the Marina Motel on Okaloosa Island.
Nominated by Ernest R. Goodhart, Jr.
Tammy Magee is a U.S. Air Force veteran of 22 years. After her retirement in 2002 at Eglin Air Force Base, Tammy got involved with the American Business Women’s Association-Emerald Coast Chapter. She served in many roles, including president, and was ABWA’s Woman of the Year in 2007. Tammy helped organize the Krewe of Chameleons and is involved with many charitable organizations. She has volunteered with Children in Crisis, Shelter House, Destin Charity Wine Auction, White Wilson Community Foundation and Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. Tammy always gives more than expected and then thanks you for letting her do it for you.
Nominated by Jeanne Rief
Char McElderry, RN is Holy Trinity’s resident nurse. Whenever anyone has a medical problem, she is there with encouragement and help. This includes consultation, transportation, home care, phone calls, visits, hugs, soup and tissues. She does all this out of the goodness of her huge heart. In addition, she is one of the congregational nurses who takes blood pressures every Sunday, is an active member of the Evangelism Committee and participates in Bible studies. As a breast cancer survivor, she joined the churches Saints and Sinners Team for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. She truly is an angel!
Nominated by Jean C. Dutton
Christie Owens is a CPA and Audit Manager at Warren Averitt. She is the 2013-14 President of the Junior League of the Emerald Coast (JLEC). Christie’s focus as President has been on improving our community, developing the potential of women and promoting volunteerism. She has served in other key positions within JLEC, including President Elect, Vice President of Finance, Treasurer, and Community Impact Committee member. Christie also serves on the Board of Directors of the Emerald Coast Science Center and has volunteered with the Destin Seafood Festival and the Billy Bowlegs Festival. She attends Village Baptist Church.
Nominated by Junior League of the Emerald Coast
Jackie Pilcher has resided in Okaloosa County since 2001. She is the 2014 Woman of the Year for American Business Women’s Association-Emerald Coast Chapter. She is a Realtor with Pelican Real Estate and has been licensed since 2003. Jackie serves as Secretary for Okaloosa/Walton Homeless Continuum of Care Board and volunteers on Sundays working with homeless individuals and Veterans. She served on the FWB Chamber of Commerce Board from 2006-2008 and is past Chair of the Panama City Beach Chamber. Jackie was Fort Walton’s Realtor of the Year in 2008 and has been a member of Florida Realtors Honor Society since 2008.
Nominated by Tammy Magee
Judi Rutland is an inspiration and leader among women, realtors and her community. As a realtor and associate broker, Judi has served as secretary of CBU Cares, a charitable arm of Coldwell Banker United. She spearheaded the adoption and implementation of programs to support Caring and Sharing in both Okaloosa and Walton Counties. In her church she has served as a Youth Group Minister, Eucharistic Minister, Hospitality Minister and Minister of Adoration. She was named Realtor of the Year for 2013 by the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, and served as that organization’s president in 2012.
Nominated by the Women’s Council of Realtors
As 2013 Humanitarian of the Year for the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, Lisa Snuggs has given thousands of hours over the years to Mission Love Seeds as well as other community projects. She was a first responder to the Haitian earthquake, and she collected and packed supplies to help survivors of the Tuscaloosa tornadoes and to families living in poverty in the Appalachian Mountains. The Emerald Coast Association of Realtors is proud to count Lisa Snuggs as one of our Realtor members.
Nominated by Michaela Mitchell
Janie Varner grew up in Fort Walton Beach, FL, and attended Choctawhatchee High School. She has made a tremendous contribution to our community. Janie taught Science at Choctaw High and while there, she developed the Indianettes Dance Team and coached the Winter Guard and Majorettes to National recognition. Later she became Principal of Niceville High School. She has donated countless hours to mentoring students as a science advocate volunteer at local elementary schools. Janie has always reached out to students and encouraged them to be their best, never give up and strive for excellence.
Nominated by Mitzi Henley
The quintessential volunteer, Ginger Walker is a remarkable woman who puts the needs of others before her own. She volunteers with her whole heart and always with a smile on her face. Ginger is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Emerald Coast Foundation where their mission is to help our most precious resource: the children of our community. Ginger is one of the founders of the Krewe of Chameleons, where she encourages and leads the members in volunteering for many charitable organizations such as Children in Crisis, Shelter House, Destin Charity Wine Auction, White Wilson Community Foundation, and the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. If there is a need, that is where you will find her.
Nominated by Krewe of Chameleons
Pacesetter – both as Civil Servant, Supervisory Contracting Officer at Eglin AFB, and as Vice President of Okaloosa County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She was selected as Supervisor of the Year and has served the community in many ways for many years. She’s the most loving, caring and giving person I have ever met. Ouida actively attends and participates in Crestview’s “First Church of God in Christ.” As a member she is instrumental in working closely with the congregation on a multitude of projects. She has impacted lives as Church Announcer and Youth Coordinator. She is charismatic, community-focused and forward-thinking.
Nominated by Eloise Stevens
Carol Wride is the definition of selfless. Her love and devotion to others is demonstrated in all she does. She is the president/foster coordinator of Feline Friends of Destin, donating countless hours to better the lives of our feline friends throughout Okaloosa County and beyond. Volunteering at Feline Friends for more than eight years is Carol’s passion, and she makes it her mission to run the nonprofit safely and smoothly. Seeing to the welfare of more than 500 kittens and cats annually can be difficult, but her determination and dedication shows in all she does. She deserves to be recognized for her hard work and commitment. She is a woman of honor.
Nominated by Jordan Swanson