The awards’ recipients and the categories in which the YWCA will honor them are:
- Lupe Ramos-Montigny, advocacy
- Norma Brink, arts
- Kimberly Horn, management, industry and labor
- Deb Bailey, community service
- Dale Iverson, professions
- Cynthia Diane Madsen, sports, fitness and wellness
- Precious Threats, student
The prime co-sponsor of the gathering is Fifth Third Bank. The purpose of the Y’s Tribute program is to recognize otherwise unacknowledged service and achievements by women in the community.
Ramos-Montigny, a veteran teacher with the Grand Rapids schools, was honored for her advocacy that resulted in renaming a portion of Grandville Avenue as Cesar E. Chavez Way. She also is the first Hispanic from Kent County elected to the Michigan Education Association board of directors. She also initiated a school project to recognize the achievements of black leaders in the area, a project leading to publication of a book now used in the schools’ social studies curriculum.
Brink, a co-founder of Community Circle Theatre that just celebrated its golden anniversary, is known locally as the grand dame of local theater. She has served the theater as a board member, actor, business manager and permanent unofficial cheerleader. Brink also is active in the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council, in animal rights, and as a commercial talent and director for senior citizen theater troupes.
Horn is being honored for her six-year tenure as president and CEO of Priority Health. Her leadership helped establish the firm’s strategic planning that resulted, in part, in its expansion to enfold Muskegon and Traverse City. She also has worked with Junior Achievement, the Economic Club, United Way and Children’s Miracle Network, as well as the Academic Council of Davenport University.
Bailey is widely known for numerous civic accomplishments, and none better than her helping to establish Gilda’s Club in Grand Rapids. She and Twink Frey and Susan Smith were co-founders of the club and she has served as its president for five years.
She also has served numerous nonprofits, among them Aquinas College, Junior Achievement, Grand Rapids Art Museum, St. Cecelia Music Society, Nokomis Foundation and the YWCA.
Iverson, a local attorney with Smith, Haughey, Rice and Roegge, perhaps is best known locally for her leadership on the Grand Rapids Bar Association to establish the new Legal Assistance Center in Kent County’s new courthouse. She is the bar’s current president and through the bar has been involved with the Michigan Supreme Court Dispute Resolution Task Force and the state bar’s Character & Fitness Committee.
Her interest in dispute resolution is not merely academic, for she also recently launched her own firm, JustMediation, designed to resolve disputes through mediation rather than litigation.
Madsen is a co-founder and current president of Communities for Equity, a local group that advocates for female athletes. The organization grew out of Madsen’s eight-year personal crusade that led to a federal ruling that found the Michigan High School Athletic Association in violation of Title IX regulations. She served on the Michigan Blue Ribbon Committee on Gender Equity. As a chemistry teacher at East Kentwood High School, she also has been a presenter at many of the YWCA’s “Science Is For Girls” workshops.
Threats’ nominator, her counselor, says the Creston High School senior “is a shining light of what is good about young people.” Threats has served on the Mayor’s Youth Council and has lettered in varsity track and volleyball while also serving four years on the student council and as a member of the marching band.
She also is the winner of Upward Bound stipends to attend math and science workshops at Western Michigan University while maintaining a 3.69 GPA in pre-college studies, an achievement that also has led to her membership in the National Honor Society.