Women of all ages and backgrounds came together Aug. 30 to celebrate a common bond and “can-do” spirit while honoring the nominees and winner of the 2011 Orpha Gatch Citizenship Award.
“The women you are about to meet brought the ‘can-do’ spirit to the test,” Priscilla O’Donnell said during the ceremony.
Christa Borchers, June Cole, Gerry Meiners and Connie Taggart were nominated for the Orpha Gatch Citizenship Award, which honors a woman in the county who displays outstanding civic service and makes a difference through volunteerism in the community, similar to the accomplishments of Gatch, a suffragist.
League members from other states and countries determined the award winner, who was announced at the end of the 15th annual banquet.
Connie Taggart received the Orpha Gatch award for the service she has provided in her community as well as the spirit she displays every day.
“Clearly in the Felicity community, Connie has been leading the way,” O’Donnell said of Taggart’s service.
Taggart has organized and taught parenting classes in Felicity, implemented Children of Alcoholics support groups, coordinated the Felicity-Franklin schools’ Safe and Drug Free Schools program, helped to obtain public city water and city phones in Bethel and Felicity, and much more.
“Volunteering is kind of a way of life,” Taggart said at the ceremony. “I believe it’s important because it embodies the spirit of being of service to others.”
Taggart said she made this realization at her father’s funeral, when her father’s friends kept coming up to her and telling her about all of the great things he had done.
“There is absolutely no limits to being of service to others,” Taggart said.
And she has lived by that idea ever since.
“I am humbled and excited and grateful,” Taggart said about winning the award. “I thank you so much for this honor.”
The three other nominees were also recognized at the ceremony for their efforts, and each discussed the reasons behind their desire to help others and the community.
Borchers, a kindergarden teacher at Seipelt Elementary in Milford, was nominated because of her efforts to bring the Girls on the Run program to Milford. The program encourages young women to live a healthy lifestyle and have self-confidence. Borchers said volunteering, for her, has become a passion.
“I call that the embodiment of the can-do spirit,” O’Donnell said about Borchers’ efforts.
Cole also brought the same spirit to the table with her long list of volunteer activities, which include working with Clermont Senior Services, the YMCA scholarship program, baking and mailing cookies to the men and women in Iraq and much more.
Cole said everyone needs to do something in their community because being invested is what really makes a difference.
“She is a poster child of a dedicated volunteer,” O’Donnell said about Cole.
Meiners, the final nominee, has also made a difference in the community through her involvement with the Civil Air Patrol, which helps prepare students for a career in aviation, engineering or military service. Meiners volunteered to take command of the squadron and worked for three years to build membership and bring a positive change.
“We just try to help them be what they’re supposed to be,” Meiners said about working with the cadets.
Each woman was honored and commended for her service at the banquet by other league members, community leaders, family and friends.
“The League of Women Voters salutes them all,” O’Donnell said.