Presenting SIHR’s 2016 Women of Distinction!


(portrait photography by SIHR member Denise Rehse Watson)

Each year since 1975, Soroptimist International of Hood River has asked community members and organizations to honor women in their midst whose work in a professional or volunteer capacity has made a significant difference in the quality of our community. Please come and join us in honoring Becky Bugge, Dottie Gilbertson, Martha La Mont and Cherie Vannet, this year’s winners of SIHR’s Women of Distinction Award. These four energetic and dedicated local women will be introduced by their nominators at a luncheon in their honor on Wednesday, May 18, 11:30- 1:00 pm, in the Columbia Room of the Best Western Hood River Inn. Tickets for the luncheon are $25 and available at Waucoma Bookstore or by calling Jean Harmon, 541-386-3748.

In nominating Becky Bugge, FISH Food Bank president Marianne Durkan said, “Becky has served as board treasurer for over 13 years and was an active leader in the complicated fundraising effort to build a state of the art food bank facility. During that time, she donated thousands of hours to oversee the accounting and financials; she helped write grants and participated in the planning of the building and ordering all the necessary equipment and furnishings. She also is a role model of respect and warmth as she provides weekly direct service to clients.”

Dottie Gilbertson, nominated by the Hood River County History Museum Heritage Council, helped keep the Museum on steady footing through several leadership transitions, including serving as interim director. She was a driving force for bringing “Hood River Cemetery Tales” to life and is now its producer and director. She also brought the Oregon Trail story and other pieces of local history to life for Westside School students during her many years as a teacher, and she helped lead the school’s transition to technology “back in the day” according to former school principal Betty Shalhope.

When Martha La Mont moved to Cascade Locks eight years ago, she brought considerable energy with her, looking forward to make a difference in her new community. She arrived just as the local food bank’s director was leaving, so she joined the board and encouraged the organization to join forces with FISH Food Bank. Martha is known for finding ways to make things better, whether at the Food Bank or by adding to the success of Cascade Locks Museum’s “Magical History Tour” fundraising auction. She also joined the Lions Club and is a regular volunteer at the Vista House, where she encourages visitors to drive further east and discover the beauty and fun of Cascade Locks.

For decades, Cherie Vannet kept the scoreboards and rules books accurate for nearly every Hood River Valley High School athletic event. She began in the 1970’s when her late husband, Ed, was athletic director. And according to recently retired athletic director, Keith Bassham, “When she wasn’t working a game, she was looking for a way to make sure less fortunate kids could get involved in athletics, either by donating equipment or donating funds for athletic scholarships.”

Please come on May 18th, learn more about them and help the community celebrate these four amazing women.


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Nominations for “Women of Distinction”

women-of-distinctionIs there a woman in your business, civic or personal life who has made a distinctive difference in the quality of life in Hood River County or in the lives of local women and girls? Soroptimist International of Hood River is asking individuals, businesses and organizations to help honor a woman in their midst whose professional or volunteer work qualifies her as a  “Woman of Distinction.” Nominations will be accepted until April 27th.  An awards luncheon is planned for May 18th.

“Our community is full of strong, capable women who have shaped our county’s culture since its beginning,” said SIHR member Jean Harmon. “Soroptimist has recognized and celebrated many of these distinctive women for over 40 years; we know we will never run out of worthy nominees. Because our larger community benefits from the work of these outstanding citizens, we ask everyone’s help in making sure they are recognized.”

Nomination forms, guidelines and a list of previous winners are available at Waucoma Bookstore in Hood River, as well as SIHR’s Facebook page, this web page or by calling SIHR member Barbara Young at (541) 490-1996. Nominations need to include all activities that show the nominee’s dedication, effectiveness and vision. Letters of support are particularly helpful.

Winners and their nominators will be notified in early May and winners’ names will be announced in the Hood River News, on local radio stations and on SIHR’s Facebook and web page.

The Women of Distinction awards luncheon is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18th, from 11:30am to 1pm, at the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn. Tickets, $25 each, will be available for purchase at Waucoma Bookstore in early May or by contacting SIHR member Jean Harmon at (541) 386-3748.

2016 Nomination Request Form

WoD Past Award Recipients



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LUNAFEST Film Festival, featuring films by, for and about women, is returning on March 9th and 10th at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River. Doors will open at 6 pm and screening begins at 7 pm.

LUNAFEST is presented by Soroptimist International of Hood River. Tickets are $15 and available from Waucoma Bookstore, Columbia Center for the Arts, and individual SIHR members.

The traveling film festival spotlights the work of talented women filmmakers with intelligent, funny and thought-provoking films. One of the six films profiles a woman who defies Fidel Castro’s ban on female boxing to follow her dreams of Olympic glory. Another features a tired mother who loses her car in a shopping mall. This year’s directors hail from Los Angeles, London, Oakland, Helsinki and Paris.

Profits from the screening go to the Breast Cancer Fund and SIHR’s Live Your Dream Awards program, education awards for women who are head of household.

Sponsors include:
Providence Hood River Memorial
• Laughing Mountain’s Good Medicine Tea Lounge:
estheticians Mary Lively and Heather Mortensen; acupuncturist Nikol Angel; cranial sacral practitioner Soma Peterson; and Reiki practitioner Maureen Sprague.

We haven’t forgotten our supporters in The Dalles! LUNAFEST returns to The Dalles on March 11th at Water’s Edge Health & Wellness Center. Doors open at 6 pm and screening begins at 7 pm.

Tickets are $10 and available from Klindt’s Bookstore, the Fitness desk at Water’s Edge and Soroptimist members. Proceeds from the screening benefit the Breast Cancer Fund, Mid Columbia Health Foundation’s Reach Out and Read program, and SIHR’s education awards for women who are head of household.

Mid Columbia Health Foundation is the Sponsor of LUNAFEST in The Dalles.



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