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Girl Scouts of West Central Florida taps four 'Women of Distinction'


Some statistics from the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida: 30,000 girls in 1,756 troops in eight counties led by 10,000 volunteers sold more than 2 million boxes of cookies.

"It's not all fun and games, but also leadership and development," said Renee Dabbs, Women of Distinction luncheon chairwoman, noting she was told she ran her troop like an MBA program. Dabbs asked the 500 guests at A La Carte Pavilion in Tampa for donations to meet a $15,000 match; Bright House Networks offered the first $5,000.

The ninth roster of Women of Distinction, all role models in their fields, are St. Petersburg lawyer Susan Hamilton Churuti, who said Scouting taught her about diversity; Maruchi Azorin Blanco, businesswoman and founder of an annual science program for Hispanic students at MOSI in Tampa; philanthropist Carol Morsani of Tampa; and Winter Haven educator Seretha Summers Tinsley.

Ariane de Bonvoisin, author of The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier, said change agents often have the same values as Scouting. "They don't live in scarcity mode," she said. They are optimists and open-minded, and have deep emotions and a supportive team. "Getting good with change is the most important life skill you can teach a child."


St. Petersburg's Woman's Service League presented "Shamrock Sashay," a fashion show to benefit the Chance Center.

The luncheon at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club honored the 2010 Best Groomed: Elizabeth and Herbert Anderson, John Biesinger, Fern Clayton, Lorraine Danna, J.C. Russell, Rachael Russell, Carol Foster, Karen and Rick McCollum, Maggi McQueen, Murray Silverstein, Bonnie Strickland and Teresa Wittstruck.

Fashions from Ambria's Wearable Art in St. Petersburg were featured at the event, which celebrated the league's 60th anniversary.

Inducted into the Best Groomed Hall of Fame were Louise Chapin, Luisa Perez-Harvey, Robert Lovejoy and Richard Winning.

Nora Pearson and Edie Spies led the event committee, which included Fern Clayton, Rosanna Costa, Alice Emmett, Kim Horstman, Joyce Larson, Dot McCarthy, Karen McCollum, Maggi McQueen, Sparky Ierna, Sally Poynter, Barbara Revels, Karen Saron, Diane Winning, Teresa Wittstruck and June Wedding.


Community leaders Bill Tapp and Betty Allen are the recipients of the Roy G. Harrell Leadership and the Helen D. Roberts Philanthropy awards from the St. Anthony's Hospital Foundation. The announcements came at the foundation's annual Legacy Dinner, held in the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club.

Tapp is managing shareholder of Kirkland, Russ, Murphy & Tapp and was chosen for his leadership in helping to establish the Childs Park YMCA. He serves on the Diocese of St. Petersburg Finance Council and has an active leadership role with St. Paul's Catholic School and the St. Paul's parish. He is a recipient of the Holy Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award from the Roman Catholic Church. Known as the "Cross of Honor," the medal is the highest medal that can be awarded to the laity by the papacy.

He is treasurer of the board of trustees for BayCare Health System and has been actively involved in and has served on the boards of many charitable organizations in the Tampa Bay area, including the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, St. Anthony's Hospital Foundation, St. Anthony's Hospital, the Police Athletic League, the Florida International Museum, the University of South Florida School of Accountancy Advisory Council, Junior Achievement of Pinellas County, St. Petersburg Catholic High School and the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg.

Allen has been a member of the board of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for 28 years and is a former board chair. She is a contributor to the Community Police Center, the Police Athletic League, the Junior League of St. Petersburg, the Christmas Toy Shop, Academy Prep, Duke University and St. Anthony's Hospital.

She is a member of St. Anthony's Women in Philanthropy Society and has been a volunteer nurse's aide at the hospital for more than a decade.

Times staff writer Amy Scherzer contributed to this report.

Girl Scouts of West Central Florida taps four 'Women of Distinction' 03/27/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 26, 2010 3:03pm]
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