(GREAT FALLS) The 27th Annual YWCA Salute to Women Gala celebrated women empowerment throughout the community.
“To see the amount of remarkable women we have in this community and to be able to honor just a small portion of them, it’s important,” said the YWCA board of directors’ president, Jennifer Fritz.
The event took place Saturday night at the Civic Center. Attendees included public figures, community volunteers and YWCA supporters.
“The mission of the YWCA is to empower women and to erase racism. We feel it’s important to have an event that really celebrates the women that we have and to be able to honor them in a way and recognize the contributions that they do,” Fritz said.
The gala honored seven women.
The award recipients are listed below:
- Tammy Lacey: Lifetime Achievement Award
- Keely Baker: Business or Entrepreneurship
- Miranda Murray: Creative Arts
- Heather Palermo: Education
- Deb Garrity: Health & Human Services
- Laura Wight: Volunteer Community Service
- Jennie Gresham: Young Woman of Tomorrow
“It’s really just a night for everybody to come together and celebrate the women being honored but also just women in general,” Fritz said.
Award recipient Keely Baker says she is honored to represent women in Great Falls.
“As women, it’s just empowering to see people striving to chase their dreams and encourage others,” Baker said.
Baker owns Studio Barre in Great Falls. The YWCA presented her with the Business/Entrepreneurship award.
“I was born and raised in Great Falls and I’m super passionate about Great Falls. I’m also passionate about empowering women and opening a barre studio was a dream for a long time of mine. I felt like Great Falls was ready for this in our community,” Baker said.
Another award recipient is Great Falls High School senior Jennie Gresham. Gresham is the student body president, a student representative for the school board, and volunteers as much as she can in the community.
Gresham received the Young Woman of Tomorrow award.
“Although there’s only seven honorees tonight, this whole room can be honored and that’s just a really incredible thing to think about,” Gresham said.
She says events such as this one are important.
“I think it’s such a great thing that doesn’t really happen in a lot of communities. I’m really proud of Great Falls for embracing that and it just means so much,” Gresham said.
To contribute to the YWCA or to learn more about the organization, you can click here.
-Reported by Elizabeth Transue/MTN News