Honoring distinctive women

Published 6:00 am Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Southern Women’s Committee of Fifty met March 26, 2009 to honor the club’s 2009 Women of Distinction honorees.

More than 500 colleagues, family and friends attended the event, which raised funds for the Birthday Wish Program for foster children and the Citizenship Challenge, sponsored by the American Village.

This is the third year the SWC50 has supported the Birthday Wish Program, which provides up to $100 for foster parents to spend towards a special birthday for each foster child. This project, which began in Shelby County and expanded to Jefferson, has spread statewide thanks to the support of First Lady Patsy Riley.

The Citizenship Challenge is a program to provide a national educational center at the American Village in Montevallo. It also aims to bring 2,100 fifth-grade students in Shelby County materials that will help them discover the Constitution and good citizenship. The Good Citizenship and Constitution Programs will be offered free at American Village to all Shelby County fifth–graders.

The distinguished women honored at this year’s event were author Ruth Beaumont Cook, introduced by Anne Bishop, president of the SWC50. Shelby County Commissioner Lindsey Allison introduced the Honorable Patricia Anne Yeager Fuhrmeister (In Memoriam), who was the first female probate judge of Shelby County. Fuhremeister was represented by her husband. The first African American woman to serve of the 10th Judicial Court, the Honorable Helen Shores Lee, was introduced by Dean John Carroll from the Cumberland School of Law. Olympic soccer player and gold medalist, Catherine Reddick Whitehill, who graduated from Briarwood Christian School, was represented by her mother, Anne Reddick, and introduced by Mary Jo Hand.

Each honoree received a proclamation from Alabama Governor Bob Riley presented by Riley’s Cabinet Member Irene Collins.

The officers of the SWC50 are President Bishop; First Vice Presidents Sandra Cleveland and Rene Williams; Secretaries Barbara Huffman and Sally Price; Treasurers Mary Jo Hand and Kelly Bishop; Parliamentarian Carol Hill; Historian Ester Peek. Also in attendance were former honorees Ann McMillan, Linda Bachus and Dr. Sarah Finley and past presidents Irene Collins, Nancy Harris, Carol Hill, Mary Jo Hand, Frankie Gaddy and Ellen Staner.