At the 70th Annual Celebrate Corvallis event, recognizing the leaders who contribute to the betterment of the community, the Zonta Club of Corvallis came away with four top awards: Patron of the Arts, Junior First Citizen, Senior First Citizen, and the Robert Ingalls Businessperson of the Year. All the Zonta recipients have contributed significantly to Corvallis, but only a few of their accomplishments and leadership roles are listed below.
Nancy Bryant, a club member since 2010, was selected as Patron of the Arts, an award that recognizes contributions to and leadership in the arts community. Nancy is a retired apparel design professor at Oregon State University. She is, among other things, the founder of the Contemporary Fiber Arts Guild and volunteers for Permission to Play, a fiber arts therapy group for cancer patients and survivors.
Erin Duncan, a member since 2015, is a practicing attorney with The Reynolds Law Firm, PC. She offers pro bono services to nonprofits and has led the club’s advocacy effort on issues of concern to women in the community and state. Erin helped spearhead Changemakers, a new organization that seeks to effect change and build a better future for women, their allies, and our communities.
Ann Smart, a member since 1979, is a retired dean at Linn-Benton Community College. Ann co-chairs the capital campaign of the Benton County Historical Society to build a new museum in Corvallis. She was a founding Board member of Stone Soup, an organization that feeds the hungry in Corvallis, and she volunteers for the Oregon Community Foundation, the Corvallis League of Women Voters, and the First Christian Church.
Mary Bentley, a member since 1990, is owner of Valley Catering. Mary received the Robert Ingalls Businessperson of the Year award, for her strong belief in business and customer service, care for employees, and support of the community. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence and the Chamber of Commerce, among many other community involvements.
A fifth Zontian, Leigh Griffith, has been a club member since 2015 and is the owner of Bella Vino Gift Baskets. Leigh, currently the club’s 2nd Vice President, was nominated for First Citizen. Although not the award recipient, she was most deserving in the club’s estimation. She has donated baskets extensively to nonprofits and volunteered for many organizations: the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence, Old Mill Center for Children and Families, the Chamber of Commerce, and also helped lead the Changemakers conference.
The Zonta Club of Corvallis turned out in large numbers for Celebrate Corvallis, having reserved three tables of eight people each, to support its nominees. The club members and many others present stood and cheered wildly as the four awardees were named. The club was ecstatic that the Celebrate Corvallis turned into a Celebrate Zonta event.
As a footnote, various club members heard other attendees express an interest in joining our club.