Marysville full of Wonder Women (slide show)

MARYSVILLE – Lynda Carter and Gal Gadat have nothing on the Marysville Soroptimist Wonder Women.

The Soroptimists celebrated their 40 years of existence in town with an awards and anniversary banquet Tuesday at the Opera House. Some of the most influential women in the history of the city attended, including charter member Alice Demmig.

She recalled how the group first met at the old Moose Lodge. “That was not a good place for ladies to meet” because it smelled of booze and cigarettes, she said to laughter.

Demmig said the club was strict when it began in 1978. They had to go to two meetings a month, refer to their leader with the title “president,” and not talk out of turn, “which I tend to do,” she said to more chuckles.

The charter requirements also were tough. There could only be one person from each field, such as one teacher, one baker, and so on. It was hard to get the 15 members to charter, she recalled.

Three longtime members also shared their thoughts. They along with former city councilwoman Donna Wright, are the club’s longest current members.

Maude Barret said money raised in the early days went to pay for a Drug Awareness Resistance Education officer in the schools. They also played a major role in building the firehouse.

Foy Cordner remembered the craft shows, selling Sees Candy and having programs with Santa and the Easter bunny.

She also recalled working at the rest stop when it first opened. “It was a good place to meet men,” she joked.

Rosie Reynaud recalled volunteering at rest homes. “They thought I was eye candy,” she laughed.

She also talked about the Progressive Dinners they used to have, going to their different homes to eat each part of a meal. She also enjoyed making baskets to raffle them off as fundraisers. And she mentioned the club used to read to grade school students, exchange letters with them, then go to lunch with them later in the year. But the biggest laugh of the night came when she talked about their Panty Parties, where they brought the size they are now, the size they used to be and the size they wished they could be.

Some newer members also spoke.

Nancy Schaut actually won a Soroptimist scholarship 30 years ago out of high school, but then joined the club 15 years later. She said she enjoys dressing up for the club’s different themed events, playing Bunco and being a part of Relay for Life, the fundraiser to fight cancer. She also likes the Sunshine Committee, which helps lift up club members during difficult times.

Also, Schaut has been making Wonder Women necklaces, many of which were given out that night. She said she will keep making them and giving them away. “It’s a nice little reminder of how special each of us is,” she said.

Carolyn Clark, a five-year member, said she enjoys mentoring at-risk girls, “giving them a safe place to share their thoughts.” She said it’s getting more important for kids to have mentors because they often don’t get that guidance at home.

“It builds confidence in these girls,” she said of the YMCA’s Girls With Promise program. It is becoming so popular that the community is asking for more. The only thing holding them back is a lack of mentors.

Clark said a bonus for the girls is they can qualify to attend the annual We Day celebration that includes celebrities. “It was like the Beatles,” she said, “with yelling and screaming the whole time.”

Award winners

•Violet Richardson Award – Mahek Sharma.

In honor of the first Soroptimist president, it goes to a 14- to 17-year-old generous with her volunteer time. Mahek, who attends Marysville Getchell, volunteers with the Key Club, food bank, YMCA, Salvation Army and with her church’s Soup Kitchen. She also worked with the Marysville Kiwanis Club to raise money to fight cancer. She plans to attend the University of Washington at Bothell. Soroptimists gave her and the Kiwanis $500 each.

•Ruby Award – Wendy Grove. Goes to an outstanding professional or volunteer in a community. Grove volunteers at the Everett Recovery Cafe and also received $500. •Live Your Dream Awards – Fay Samiei, Teresa Ray Sanders, Sandi Lee and Sara Rudolph

Goes to women who need resources to improve their education, skills and job prospects. Samiei was a caregiver for her dad before he died and now is one for her mom. She plans to go for her master’s degree and received $1,500.

Sanders is a mom of four, just received her Associate’s in Arts degree and plans to go for her bachelor’s in business management. She won $1,250.

Lee won $1,200 and will study nursing at Everett Community College.

Rudolph was not there but she won $750 to go back to school to study environment. She has a daughter who needs numerous heart surgeries, her dad is paralyzed from the neck down, and she just lost her job.

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