Those in attendance last Wednesday night at the WISE Women of Blair County's recognition dinner at The Casino at Lakemont Park could not have been more impressed at the representatives honored or the expression of thoughts.
Honorees included Cindy Baney (lifetime achievement), Rachel DiAndrea (arts and letters), Autumn Temple (business and professional), Rozzie Sky (community service volunteer), Francine Endler (education), Robin L. Beck (non-profit/government) and Maddie Letsche (rising star).
The program started under the direction of the Altoona YWCA in 1992 and has been revamped since.
The organization's mission, however, remains the same - to "empower women and eliminate racism through collaboration, service and education."
Baney, the former director of the Altoona YMCA, was touched to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Her mother, Alice Goodfellow, won the first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 - at the age of 98.
Baney spoke first, setting the tone for the evening, and each recipient that followed delivered speeches that were equally appreciative, concise and moving.
Two of the most memorable messages came from younger honorees Temple, who talked about overcoming challenges, and Letsche, who is fighting thyroid cancer and its complications.
In close to 30 years, the YWCA and Wise Women have now honored more than 120 women for their achievements and contribution to the betterment of Blair County.
It's clear they're not running out of deserving and outstanding recipients.
Thumbs-up to the organization and its latest honorees.
Others worthy of thumbs-up, thumbs-down mention:
Thumbs-up to first responders to an accident on Old Route 22 that claimed the life of a Bedford County woman whose car crashed into a bus carrying 10 inmates from the State Correctional Institution at Pine Grove last week. The movie "The Fugitive" comes to mind - and one local school was quickly placed on lockdown after the accident - but each inmate was promptly accounted for and transported to Altoona Regional for care.
Unless you own a ski resort or a plow, Mother Nature was good to us over the winter. So she must have been entitled to a last laugh of a dumping of several inches of snow in the higher elevations earlier this week. Still, thumbs-down for the late winter blast.
Thumbs-up to DelGrosso Foods, one of a dozen American businesses to host visiting business owners from Afghanistan designed to improve Afghan business. The program was conducted in cooperation with the nonprofit organization Bpeace and with the support of the U.S. State Department.