Women honored for ‘excellence’

CARA MORNINGSTAR/Sun-Gazette Dawn Linn, CEO of the YWCA Northcentral PA, left, hugs Diane Glenwright, former CEO of the YWCA Northcentral PA and a Woman of Excellence winner, embrace as Glenwright goes to accept the award during the YWCA Northcentral PA Women of Excellence 2017 recognition dinner at the Williamsport Country Club on Thursday.

In celebration of women who make the community a better place, many gathered to honor and recognize 14 women during the YWCA Northcentral PA Women of Excellence 2017 recognition dinner at the Williamsport Country Club on Thursday.

This year’s Wise Woman of the Year was Sue F. Young, a longterm volunteer in the community and board member of the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.

“Wise Woman of the Year is an honor bestowed on one exemplary woman whose lifetime commitment to service has made a lasting impact in Lycoming County,” said Mallory Weymer, chairperson of the Women of Excellence committee.

Jennifer D. Wilson, president and CEO of the FCFP, introduced Young for the honor.

“It’s important to reflect on the many people whose lives have been enriched by Sue and her contributions that have made their world a better place from the people in her family and circle of friends, to the patients at UPMC Susquehanna and the residents of not only the Williamsport Home but also of Muncy SCI,” Wilson said.

Young was touched by the acknowledgment.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the YWCA for this great honor,” she said. “I am so pleased to accept this award in the spirit of volunteerism. I know that the spirit is alive and well in this community. Congratulations to the Women of Excellence and the Young Woman of Excellence that are being honored here tonight. That spirit has made you a gift to your community and a treasure to your family. Congratulations.”

She said the YWCA was vital for the community.

“For the last 124 years, which is amazing … the Y has been a true leader for those in crisis and also has developed many innovative programs,” Young said.

The boutique is especially fantastic, according to Young.

“Not every community has a YWCA … we’re just one of the lucky ones,” she said.

Allaryn Smith, a senior at South Williamsport area High School, received the Young Woman of Excellence 2017 award.

“A young woman of excellence embodies integrity, strength of character and leadership,” Weymer said.

Smith was happy to accept the honor.

“When I found out I received this honor, I was in shock. I felt so blessed and humbled … I was so excited about this award and banquet, but then I found out I had to give a speech,” she said. “My first thought was, ‘Oh no.'”

Smith said that she knew her worth because she was fearfully and wonderfully made by her heavenly father.

“I could not make a speech at this banquet without talking my God who has done so much for me,” she said.

She said every woman struggles with her identity.

“I came here to tell every woman she is worth far more than gold and rubies,” Smith said. “A young woman of excellence uses her leadership and her own trials to lift other women out of their trial. A young girl should not have to reach a certain number of likes on a post to feel beautiful … Every woman is beautiful.”

The other 2017 Women of Excellence were Tracey Amey, director of Madigan Library at the Pennsylvania College of Technology; Tina Beach, production manager at Hope Enterprises Inc.; Katie Bell, director of marketing and communications at Lycoming Engines; Robin Dawson, LifeCenter coordinator/health educator and registered nurse at UPMC-Susquehanna; Yvonne M. Di Rocco, cofounder of Vestini Imports, John R. T. Ryan Enterprises and Airman HVAC Service; Shirley Durrwachter, founding member of Pearls with Passion at the FCFP; Diane Glenwright, former CEO of the YWCA Northcentral PA; Robin E. Glossner, development, marketing and programming director at the James V. Brown Library; Carolyn Hawk, Lycoming County United Way vice president of community impact; Barbara S. McGary, executive director of the James V. Brown Library; Dr. Nancy Story Somers, former medical director at Sycamore Manor Nursing Center; and Alma Dolores Verzella, licensed practical nurse with the UPMC Susquehanna and Family Medicine at Loyalsock Township.

“Congratulations to all of the 2017 honorees. I hope that you know you join a list of women who have made extraordinary accomplishments,” said Dawn Linn, CEO of the YWCA Northcentral PA. “You are truly amazing.”

She said that some may believe that amazing is a simple word easily thrown around but that it causes great wonder.

“Each story was nothing short of amazing. You inspire us. You lift us up, and you encourage us to do more,” she said.

Those the YWCA serve in the area were also acknowledged during the event, including the services of Wise Options and Liberty House.

“Because of your support, there are 38 women and 18 children safe at the YWCA right now,” said Anna Thompson, communications and development director at the YWCA Northcentral PA.

Julie Calabro-Taylor, former resident at Liberty House, spoke of her experience.

“The YWCA helped me get clothes from their boutique when I got my first job,” she said. “Anything you ask for, they will help you. I didn’t know anything like this existed when I was incarcerated, and it really helped me.”

She said the services taught her how to rely on herself and be strong after hitting rock bottom with drug and alcohol abuse.

“Today, I can honestly say through their help and support, I am on my road to being the woman I want to be,” she said.