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.


This entry was posted in community service, Hood River, SIHR, Soroptimist International, Women of Distinction. Bookmark the permalink.