Sandoval named Woman of the Year

PORT TOWNSEND — Called an outstanding role model, City Councilwoman Michelle Sandoval was named the Public Official Woman of the Year on Thursday by the League of Women Voters.

“In spite of polarized politics and city-county tensions, Sandoval participates in making significant contributions to public service, earning respect as an outstanding role model for professional, competent public service,” said Betty Todd, who presented the award.

“She is well-prepared and familiar with key issues, reaching out and working with leaders from all community sectors.”

The award was one of five presented at the Soroptimist/League of Women Voters annual recognition luncheon at Fins Restaurant.

Held in conjunction with International Women’s Day, the program was opened by Port Townsend Police Chief Kristen Anderson, who spoke on the history of the observance, which dates back nine decades and is a national holiday in many nations, she said.

Judge keynotes

District Court Judge Mark Huth gave the keynote address, tracing the progress he has witnessed women making in his own lifetime.

He also connected the balance of equality in American society with the situation in Iraq, where women are not allowed to appear in public, much less speak or become leaders.

“We’re not just recognizing women in our community, we’re recognizing much bigger concepts — equality, justice, freedom,” Huth said.

With the help of Mayor Catharine Robinson, County Treasurer Judi Morris presented four awards on behalf of the Soroptimist of Port Townsend/East Jefferson County.

Bethany Friedrich, a junior at Chimacum High School, received the Violet Richardson Award, named for the Soroptimist founder, honoring young women 14 to 17 years old for community service.

“Bethany is a basketball coach, T-ball coach, involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters and is a camp counselor,” Morris said.

Bethany, the daughter of Ted and Shellie Friedrich, also received $500 and is eligible for larger regional and national prizes, Morris said.

Also receiving $500 in the form of a scholarship was Jennifer Taylor, who received the Fellowship Award.

A clerk at the WSU extension office, Taylor is working on a master’s degree in education and plans to become a teacher.

Opportunity award

Catherine Grace, who is working on a business degree, was not present but was named the recipient of the Women’s Opportunity Award.

Ann Foley, founder of the Olympic Outdoor Women’s Institute, received the Making a Difference Award, which honors a woman who has improved the lives of women and children in the county.

Sandoval, thinking she had just been invited to attend the luncheon, was overcome with emotion when the award was announced.

“My mother, who is 86 and who must be called every week, always reminds me that our reason for living is to be of service,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval said both her parents instilled in her the belief that she could do anything she wanted, even be president of the United States.

Citing her age, she also credited the women who came before her as paving the way for her generation.

“It’s been my honor to give back to the community,” Sandoval said.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan education and advocacy group, gives the Woman of the Year award to recognize a local female public official for vision, policy, commitment, innovation and overcoming obstacles.

Morris was the first recipient of the award in 2004.

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