Special to the Chronicle

Women of Distinction were honored at Awards Gala by Girl Scouts on Nov. 8, Special to the Chronicle

On the night of Nov. 8, the Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle held it’s Women of Distinction Awards Gala and honored all nominees on stage with eight being recognized as honorees in specific categories at the Florida State Alumni Center.

“It has been an honor to meet these extraordinary women and recognize them as the distinguished women that they are,” said Raslean M. Allen, Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle, Inc. chief executive officer. “The recipients are women who have demonstrated their commitment through leadership and community service; they signify courage, confidence, and character, while making the world a better place, and exemplify the Girl Scout mission.” she continued.

Nell Cunningham, a retired educator from Gadsden County, received the Lifetime Achievement, Diamond Award, which is presented to a woman whose contributions to the community embody the vision of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts.  Which Nell has constantly done, from her bringing medical and dental services to Havana, to all her years of volunteering for Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

The Pearl Award was presented to Barbara Goldstein, one of the founders of the Holocaust Education Program and is bestowed upon an adult who at one point in their live has been a Girl Scout for her significant contributions to the Girl Scout movement in support of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

The award is given in memory of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, with the significance of the pearl symbolizing the devotion by Low to the success of the start of Girl Scouting which included selling a strand of pearls to fund the early operations of Girl Scouts. Barbara has developed meaningful programs with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, and is dedicated to continue education of the Holocaust and the dangers of intolerance.

Joining Nell Cunningham, and Barbara Goldstein as Women of Distinction Honorees include:

• Audrey Diana Lewis, Gadsden County School District, Retired: Education
• Marcia Warfel, Volunteer Florida: Social Services
• Robin Haslet Thompson, Kelly Tucker: Law
• Kelly Tucker, Evergreen Solutions: Youth Services
• Cecka Green: Formally with LendingAge Florida: Community
• Sha’Ron James, Florida Department of Financial Services: Government/Elected Official

A program inspired by Girl Scouts nationally and hosted locally by the Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle, the Women of Distinction awards honor women who truly demonstrate their commitment to the community. The women selected join the over 150 women in the Florida Panhandle who have been honored as Women of Distinction since the program’s inception in 1998.

The Women of Distinction is a primary fundraiser for the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle, with the devastation of Hurricane Michael, it is more important than ever to create a since of normalcy for our Girl Scouts, we can do this by keeping Girl Scouts active even during this difficult time. All proceeds made at this event goes towards all of our Girl Scouting needs for over 3,000 Girl Scouts across the Florida Panhandle, including programs, trainings and camps.

The dinner and awards program was hosted by Julie Montanaro, award-winning journalist who anchors WCTV’s Eyewitness News. Included in the program was a presentation by Ashley Campbell, this year’s Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle’s Young Woman of Distinction.

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