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The 12th Annual Celebration for Women of Excellence was held Saturday in the Parish Hall of Church of the Holy Comforter. The event, held annually since 2008, recognizes women in the community in the areas of education, religion, business and community service.
Sumter County Assistant Solicitor Bronwyn McElveen spoke at the event which honored a number of excellent women. The following honorees received citations from the S.C. Senate, S.C. House of Representatives, Sumter County Council, Sumter City Council and the WOE Committee: A. Nicole Simon; Karen-Yassell Buffalo; Gaylinda E. Phillips; Cynthia Montgomery Smith; Becky Vermeland Minigar; Roniesha Sinkler; Jennifer Reimer; Shekia S. Bradford; Lakeshia Vaughn; Rhonda Russell; Audrika Gadson; Dr. Gequana Thomas; Cheryl Snell; Abby Lawson; Sara Margie Nelson; Paula J. Stover; Jacqueline Helton; Barbara Bowman; Monica Griffin Twine; Maribel Alicea; Chanae Lumpkin; Dolores Marie Morales; Neelie Carole Rodgers; Pamela Tisdale Richburg; Vonda Tucker Martin; Brenda Lowder Barnes; Laura Pritchard; Amy Moore Stallings; Sherry Ardis Welle; Brenda Covington; Sharon A. Gass Holland; Azilee Billie; Rosalind R. McGowan; Tracy Smith; Mary Lee; Fannie Budden Lanon; and Joy Lynn Lawson James.
There are two major projects Women of Excellence has spearheaded. The Social Justice Consortium and Women of Excellence Committee partnered with Brighter Day Charities of the Lowcountry in a project to provide water and development of a water system in remote villages in Togo, South Africa and the Congo. This six-year project was completed in 2016, providing numerous villages with access to running water. This project was completed with the help of more than 30 organizations.
Partnering with SJC and Health Financial Management Association, WOE's second project impacted more than 400 families. The DRY SHOE Fund provided shoes to school children and their families who were affected by the 1,000-year flood. In cooperation with the school district and other social service agencies, in excess of 450 pairs of new shoes were provided. "This event has been monumental in its outreach," said organizer Chuck Wilson, speaking on behalf of the committee.