Local ‘Caring Women’ honored

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eric J. Shelton | The Natchez Democrat — Dr. Connie Fleming, left, congratulates Frances Adams for winning the perseverance award during the Caring Women luncheon Tuesday afternoon at the Natchez Convention Center.

NATCHEZ — Women who make a difference in the community were recognized and honored at the annual Caring Women luncheon Tuesday.

A total of 73 women were nominated, some more than once, for awards in six categories.

Vera Dunmore, principal at Frazier Primary School, was the recipient of the Caring Women Leader Award.

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“If you look up the word leadership in the dictionary, you will probably find a picture of my nominee,” moderator Sue Stedman read from the submitted nomination form. “She has been an educator for more than 25 years. She cares about the 600 students who have been entrusted to her as well as her staff. Dunmore leads by example and inspires all who know her.”

Dunmore said she was shocked and amazed that she was awarded.

“I had no idea,” Dunmore said. “I knew I was nominated, but I came just to be here. They started announcing the winner, and someone grabbed my hand.”

The perseverance award went to a single mom of three daughters, who did not have her high school diploma but wanted to be a role model for her girls. Today, Frances Adams has a GED, and is enrolled in the Copiah-Lincoln nursing program.

The third award went to a mentor in the community — Nancy Bowman.

“This honoree received three nominations in the mentor category and they were all different yet they all echoed the same attributes of this very special lady,” Stedman said.

A volunteer category was added to the Caring Women awards this year. Barbara Persons was described as the quintessential volunteer not only in her church but all over Natchez.

The recipient of the defender award went to Matilda Stephens, who has been involved in championing the causes of the disadvantaged with organizations such as the Special Olympics and Kyle’s House.

A young woman of promise was also honored at the luncheon. Bethany Ogden, a junior at Trinity Episcopal Day School, was awarded for her work re-establishing a quarterly newsletter for The Guardian domestic violence shelter.

“Being awarded feels amazing,” Ogden said. “It was hard work, but I really like helping people in need, and I thought I could help with the newsletter.”

Natchez Community Hospital and First Natchez Radio sponsor the Caring Women luncheon.