Santa Fe College’s annual Alachua-Bradford County Women of Distinction and Woman of Promise awards honor prominent women from within the college’s service area for the 25th year.
The event was created by the Women’s History Committee at SFC in 1987 shortly after the United States Congress designated March as Women’s History Month. Since the awards began, more than 100 women have been selected as Women of Distinction and Women of Promise.
This year, recipients include (left to right) Alena King Lawson, DeeJay Hellrung, Mary Wise, Sylvia Reddish, Jenna Stafford, Linda McGurn and Bennye Alligood.
Alena King Lawson currently serves on the Newberry City Commission and was the first and only black woman to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant for the GPD.
DeeJay Hellrung, an advocate for children’s health, is active in a variety of organizations, including March of Dimes, Children’s Home Society, Girl Scouts, Girls Place and the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation, among many others.
Mary Wise has coached the University of Florida’s volleyball team for more than 21 seasons. She is the “winningest” coach at Florida, including 19 SEC championships, 12 tournament titles and seven Final Four matches. She is the honorary chair and fundraiser for PACE Center for Girls.
Sylvia Reddish, a successful businesswoman, operated an insurance agency for more than two decades. She is a charter member of Altrusa, is a breast cancer survivor and a Reach for Recovery volunteer, and is active in civic affairs.
Jenna Stafford is an Eastside High School student enrolled in Santa Fe’s High School Dual Enrollment program. She has been very active at Eastside and in the Gainesville community, including cooking dinner once a month at St. Francis House, volunteering full-time in the summer at Duval Elementary, and volunteering in after-school programs and with her church.
Linda McGurn is a redeveloper responsible for the rebirth of downtown Gainesville and is active in many community organizations. McGurn and her husband, Ken, reclaimed, restored and developed the Sun Center, Arlington Square Apartments, Star Garage and Union Street Station.
Bennye Alligood is the Associate Vice President for College and Community Relations at Santa Fe College. She’s active in Altrusa, serves on the YMCA board and many other community endeavors. She has served the college for more than three decades.
This year’s awards celebration will be at the Fine Arts Hall on Thursday, March 15, at 4:30pm. For more information about the event, please contact Event Coordinator Cheryl Farrell at 352-395-5181.