Okaloosa County Organization Recognizes 2022 ‘Women of Honor’

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FORT WALTON BEACH — Debra J. Hutto, with Shalimar United Methodist Church, founded the Emerald Coast Chapter of Reboot to heal the “wounds of the soul” from the effects of trauma for active duty veterans and first responders.

“Deb’s reboot classes have prevented three suicides, saved four marriages, and cured more than 50 participants,” said Shari Flowers Bruns, vice chair of the Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women (OCCSW), to more than 100 people on Thursday during the group’s annual meeting. Ceremony of women of honor.

Established in 1995, the OCCSW aims to break down barriers to women’s success through research, education and communication, and to honor women who have made major contributions to improving the status of women and others. county residents.

Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women Chairwoman Erin Landmann (right) poses for a photo with Debra Hutto, who was inducted into the group's Women of Honor Roll on Thursday for her contributions to the community.

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At Thursday’s ceremony, Bruns said Hutto is also the president of Northwest Florida’s Blue Star Mothers of America Chapter 7, which has expanded membership and services to local families, troops and veterans organizations, coordinates activities for care packages and shipments to deployed troops, organizes fundraisers, and serves refreshments to mobility line deployments.

The local Blue Star Mothers chapter supports the Wounded Warrior Project, Fisher House, the Okaloosa Veterans Tribute Tower at Beal Memorial Cemetery, the Air Force Wounded Warriors Games and Gold Star Mothers and Families, Bruns said.

Hutto was one of 22 women who were recognized Thursday as the newest members of the OCCSW Women of Honor. The ceremony was held in the auditorium of the joint campus of Northwest Florida State College and the University of West Florida at 1170 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Following the event, a reception was held at the campus library, where each new honoree’s name will be added to a plaque hung on the OCCSW Honor Wall.

A letter including each honoree’s photo and brief biography of nomination along with the names of the person(s) who nominated them will be placed in the honor book below the plaque.

Thursday’s ceremony included remarks from County Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel, a former longtime social worker who spearheaded the recent creation of the county’s Women Veterans Memorial at Veterans Park on Okaloosa Island.

“Women are unique and different because we give birth to children,” Ketchel said. “We take care of our elderly parents. We take care of our children, and it’s the worst job ever because you raise them, you love them, and you nurture them, and then you give them wings and they leave you. This is the worst thing: I remember going through this, it was such a heartbreaking moment for me. And then they grow up and (give you) grandchildren. It’s funny.”

Ketchel said women have “seasons” in their lives.

“We were told over and over again that we should do everything,” she said. “We can’t do everything at once. But if we have a long enough life, you can do a lot of wonderful things.

Here is the full list of Women of Honor 2022:

Sandra L. Atkinson, Jessica Bautista, Jennifer Comella, Sarah W. Craig, June Dillman, Donella Florence, Kelley Fuller, Marlayna Goosby, Kathy Haugen, Debra J. Hutton, Lois Johnson, Sharon Harvil McAuliffe, Karen Monroe, Dawn Novy, Kathy Pacheco, Zo Rowley, Felicia Scaife, Barbara Slocumb, Jennifer Bishop Steinmeier, Annie Swain, Sherry Newton Vieth and Marcia Wright Reynolds.

For more information about the Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women, visit www.occsw.org.

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