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MBPW honors two women

Posted: Thursday, Dec 6th, 2012

MBPW Women’s Scholarhsip: Mendota Business and Professional Women’s president, Jeri Atherton, left, congratulates Andrea Fonger on being selected the 2012 Women's Scholarship recipient. Fonger is currently working on earning a certification as a physical therapy assistant. MBPW Woman of the Year: Gayle Peasley, right, treasurer of the Mendota Business and Professional Women's organization, presents Jeri Atherton, retired educator and counselor, with the 2012 Woman of the Year Award for her volunteer work in the community. (Photos contributed)

MENDOTA - The Mendota Business and Professional Women’s organization named Jeri Atherton, retired counselor and teacher, as the 2012 Woman of the Year and Andrea Fonger as the recipient of the $500 Woman’s Scholarship.

MBPW treasurer Gayle Peasley surprised Atherton by reading a list of her activities to the group at El Zarape’s Restaurant on Wednesday, Nov. 28. The list of her volunteer activities includes tutoring learners in the Adult Education Classes held at the Zion Methodist Church in Mendota.

“Helping adults improve their writing and language skills has been very exciting to me. Those who attend the classes regularly and apply themselves improve dramatically,” Atherton stated.

In addition to tutoring, Atherton is the Lay Leader at the Mendota First United Methodist Church, sings in the church choir, and assists teaching the confirmation class. Finally, she also is the current president of the MBPW.

“Being a helping person is just part of my life---mother, grandmother, teacher, counselor, friend. All these roles make life fulfilling for me,” she said. “I appreciate this honor, and want to applaud the BPW members for their constant support and desire to help women in our community.”

As part of the MBPW’s mission of “Women Helping Women,” the group awards scholarships to local girls and women. This year Andrea Ruda Fonger, wife of Thomas Fonger and mother of two young daughters, received the “Woman Returning to School” scholarship. After graduating from Mendota High School in 2003, Andrea earned her certificate in Massage Therapy from Illinois Valley Community College. While working at the Head Hunter Salon and Day Spa in Mendota, Andrea continued her education by becoming a cosmetologist through the Educators of Beauty in La Salle. Currently, Andrea is working on her Associate in Science degree at IVCC in order to enter a program to become a physical therapy assistant.

“I have always loved working with people and helping them to feel better. My massage therapy has also led me to want to be a physical therapy assistant. This scholarship will help me so much since I have had to decrease my hours at work in order to take more classes,” Fonger explained.

MBPW meetings are usually held the third Tuesday of the month at various restaurants and homes in Mendota. The next meeting will be a “Christmas Girls’ Night Out,” including a tour of the Reddick Mansion in Ottawa, followed by dinner at the Starved Rock Lodge. Guests are always welcome at meetings and activities. Interested women may contact Jeri Atherton at athertonj64@gmail.com or Ginny Becker at gbecker9@hotmail.com.

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