Apple Valley, CA, August 27, 2013 – August 23rd brought what U.S. Congressman Paul Cook hopes will be an annual event: the Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony. Rep. Cook represents our 8th congressional district and put out a call in July for nominations for women who give back to their communities.

The event was held at the Apple Valley Town Hall Conference Center and was attended by approximately 300 people. Among the 60 honorees, four were from the Big Bear Valley: Sharon Gytri, Kathleen Harper, Elizabeth Harris Ed. D. and Kim Sweet.

Sharon Gytri is a retired educator who continues to substitute teach part-time for the Big Bear Unified School District. Sharon volunteers for many different causes, including the March of Dimes and the Big Bear Horro-Fi Film Festival. She is also a member of a Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla, spending summer weekends safeguarding the boating public on Big Bear Lake.

Kathi Harper is the CEO of Domestic Violence Education and Services (DOVES) of Big Bear Valley, a shelter-based domestic violence services agency. Kathleen works to end domestic violence by providing safe shelter to those suffering from abuse and promoting healthy relationship models for our youth.

Liz Harris spent 35 years as an educator and currently works as a Field Representative for San Bernardino County 3rd District Supervisor James Ramos. In addition, Liz is the founder of the Big Bear Valley Education Trust and a former member of the Big Bear Lake City Council.

Kim Sweet has been the curator for the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum for the past nine years. Kim and her late husband established the museum’s first curatorial fund. She also conducts historical trips to teach visitors about local historical sites throughout Bear Valley.

Said Rep. Cook, “I’m humbled by the opportunity to honor so many accomplished women. Each of the honorees has made significant contributions to their communities. This event was great way to honor their unique and important accomplishments. These talented women are very deserving of praise and I’m glad I was able to show my gratitude to them.”

The cities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Bishop, Crestline, Hesperia, Highland, Lake Arrowhead, Needles, Twentynine Palms, Victorville, Yucca Valley were also represented. The complete list of honorees is below:

Linda Arcularius, Bishop
Marge Booth, Highland
Jacqueline Bounce, Apple Valley
Bonita Burgess, Highland
Mara Cantelo, Yucca Valley
Diana Carloni, Victorville
Kim Carpenter, Hesperia
Gwen Cracraft, Apple Valley
Margaret Diaz, Victorville
Deborah DiThomas, Barstow
Pamela Emenger, Yucaipa
Kathy Fellenz, Yucaipa
Sharon Gytri, Big Bear
Kathleen Harper, Fawnskin
Elizabeth “Liz” Harris Ed. D., Big Bear Lake
Muffin Hill, Twentynine Palms
Beth Horton, Apple Valley
Tara Hough, Yucca Valley
Nancy Huntington, Yucca Valley
Dr. Helena Johnson, Hesperia
Olga Johnson, Hesperia
Mia Johnson, Victorville
Nancy Karl, Joshua Tree
Linda Kidd, Needles
Carmen Laird, Adelanto
Chris Lamoreaux, Victorville
Lisa Lawrence, Apple Valley
Julie McIntyre, Barstow
Bobbi Meikel, Victorville
Cindy Melland, Yucca Valley
Donna Mertens, Hesperia
Melissa Moore, Yucaipa
Patti Munson, Needles
Cheryl Nagy, Lake Arrowhead
Julie Norton, Apple Valley
Kathi Papp, Twentynine Palms
Janice Peters, Twentynine Palms
Coleen Quinn, Victorville
Sheri Randolph, Barstow
Leeann  Rasmuson, Bishop
Susan Reilly, Twentynine Palms
Mary Scarpa, Adelanto
Jody Scott, Highland
Penny Shubnell, Crestline
Cindi Smallwood, Apple Valley
Laura Smith, Bishop
Sandy Smith, Twentynine Palms
Michelle Spears, Victorville
Kim Sweet, Big Bear Lake
Claire Teeters, Yucaipa
Cheryl Underhill, Bishop
Delores Williams, Apple Valley
Jamie Williams, Barstow
Denise Work, Yucaipa
Nancy Wunker, Barstow
Jessica Wyland, Highland
Debi Yerkes, Bishop
Jacqui Zinn, Highland
Dolores Zuniga, Victorville