Four nominated for Woman of the Year

Published 7:25 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Four local women have been nominated for the annual Woman of the Year award, which will be announced at the Chamber of Commerce banquet on Jan. 28 at the Kirbo Center.

The Pilot Club is the sponsor of the annual award, and its members vote on the winner of those nominated, who were Sandra Brown, Anita Sexton, Katrina Stubbs and Eugenie “Genie” Whiddon.

The following are the nominees:

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Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown was nominated by Nan McIntosh, the executive director of CASA of Southwest Georgia, because of Brown’s volunteer work with CASA.

“CASA of Southwest Georgia is honored and proud of the volunteers we have,” McIntosh wrote in her nomination letter. “One volunteer, Sandra Brown, stands out above the rest, for this volunteer has been with CASA for nine years, she has worked on more than 30 cases, and served more than 100 children.”

McIntosh said Brown has put in more than 1,200 hours meeting the needs of this area’s abused and neglected children.

CASA, which is an acronym of Court Appointed Special Advocate, is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide community based child advocacy to make certain the needs of abused and neglected children are met in a timely manner.

CASA volunteers are appointed by Judge Edwin J. “Chip” Perry III to speak for a child in juvenile court hearings, read all files, interview those involved, seek out relatives, visit children in foster care, help find solutions in the best interest of the child and provide recommendations to the judge, McIntosh wrote.

“Honestly, if there were to be an illustration of the word advocate, it would be a picture of Sandra Brown,” McIntosh said. “Sandra is the epitome of an advocate. When Sandra receives a case, the children involved become her children.”

McIntosh said Brown is passionate about doing what is in the children’s best interest.

“Ms. Brown would leave no stone unturned, no question unanswered, no child’s best interest neither unspoken nor unmet,” McIntosh said. “Decatur County is a better place because of the volunteer efforts of Sandra Brown.”

A photo of Brown could not be obtained in time for the publication of this article.

Anita Sexton

Anita Sexton, who has been nominated at Woman of the Year previously, is the director of Stepping Stones, a non-profit, faith-based organization that assists women in regaining their lives after an addiction.

Sexton was nominated by Leaha Shadrix, who said Sexton has stepped up to help those who truly didn’t know how, or didn’t have the means, to help themselves.

Shadrix writes that those who come to the Stepping Stone are in a frail state, after completing as 28-day drug treatment program, and are experiencing very low self worth. Most of the residents of Stepping Stone have children they have lost contact with and have left behind broken relationships with family.

“Anita gives these women a real chance to maintaining sobriety, which is the first step to getting their life back to normal,” Shadrix wrote. “She offers them a safe place to begin to heal so that they can begin to mend those broken relationships with family that are so important to have. She loves them until they can love themselves.”

Sexton, who has been director for the past five years, assists the women with gaining and maintaining employment, or encouraging them to further their education.

“Anita has devoted so much of her time to this ministry in the past five years. She has helped so many people’s lives, not just the addicts’ lives, but the lives of so many children who need their mother, and the lives of parents who desperately wanted their daughter back, but didn’t know how to help,” Shadrix said.

Katrina Stubbs

Katrina Stubbs was nominated by her sister, Ashley Edwards, because she works, volunteers and tries to improve the lives of others while at the same time suffering from a rare disease that causes uncontrolled swelling.

Stubbs was president of the student council at West Bainbridge Elementary School, volunteers with Family Connection, helps coordinate community programs such the bingo games for senior citizens, collects books to be donated, and volunteers with Relay for Life. She is also a member of the Bride of Christ church, sings in the choir and is a member of an outreach group, which allows her to volunteer with such projects as the Grady County jail ministry and the migrant work camp health screening program.

“The best thing about my sister is not that she does these things, but the fact that she does them regardless of her schedule or how she feels,” Edwards wrote. “There are days when she has to struggle to get out of bed not only for work or to take care of her kids, but to also help with many of these programs because even though if you look at her you would never be able to tell that Katrina is sick because she always puts her best foot forward.”

Stubbs, who lives in Bainbridge, is the assistant director of Providence Community Corrections and is the single mother of two children, Anthony, 14, and Alysha, 12.

Eugenie Whiddon

Eugenie Whiddon is an 86-year-old mother of 10 who has been a “steadfast volunteer in Bainbridge and throughout Decatur County.”

She was nominated by Suzanne Knight.

Whiddon, who has been nominated previously as Woman of the Year, volunteers at the Decatur County YMCA teaching seniors in water aerobics, holding classes five days and three nights a week.

She also has volunteered for more than 50 years for the Girl Scouts of America.

“She has run the gamut, from being a troop leader to having her home as the Girl Scout cookie sale distribution center here in Bainbridge,” Knight said.

Whiddon is a long-time member of the American Legion Bainbridge Unit 62 Women’s Auxiliary and can be seen every Veterans Day passing out poppies to veterans. She buys and distributes items to veterans at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Milledgeville and is putting together gift items for the newly established clinic for veterans in Tallahassee, Fla., Knight wrote.

Whiddon is a member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the Council of Catholic Women, the Missionary Cenacle, president of the Albany Deanery Council of Catholic Women.

“She has put together over 60 layette baskets this year for distribution in the community, through referrals. Along with these layettes, she oversees the purchase and distribution of infant car seats and portable playpens through a fund established by one of her sons,” Knight wrote.