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Friday Harbor Soroptimists honor effort and achievements
Linda Degnan Cobos exemplifies the woman who makes her own opportunities by trying anything and everything to make her way in the world, breaking new ground and pursuing her dreams.
She’s been a dump truck driver and commercial fisher, a garage supervisor in Yosemite National Park and a drywall helper in her family business. And now she’s a 4.0 student in Marine Technology at Skagit Valley College in Anacortes.
For those achievements, and more, Soroptimist International of Friday Harbor awarded Cobos their highest honor, the Women’s Opportunity Award, which carries with it their largest cash award, $4,000, to help a family breadwinner with educational expenses.
In her talk to the annual Notable Women’s Luncheon last week in Friday Harbor, Cobos urged others to go for their dreams with the quote, “You can’t cross oceans unless you stop staring at the shore.”
The “Best for Women Committee” of Soroptimists also made three other annual awards at the luncheon.
Heidi Evans received the Fellowship Award, a $3,000 scholarship for post graduate study. Heidi grew up on San Juan Island, worked her way through college on the docks at Roche Harbor and obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. Her goal is to become a teacher.
She recently purchased Stepping Stones, a child care center in Friday Harbor, and is now pursuing a second degree in Early Childhood Education. Heidi told the Soroptimists that, “the scholarships help more than you would ever believe.”
The Violet Richardson Award, named for the founder of Soroptimists, is awarded for community service to a girl age 14-17. This year’s winner is Lenora Johnson, a student at Spring Street International School, for her work as a volunteer firefighter and fire safety educator.
The $750, she said, will go into her college fund. She will graduate from Spring Street in a few weeks and is headed to WSU this fall.
The Ruby Award goes to a woman who gives service to help women and girls. This year’s recipient is Madi McPadden, a 21-year old University of Washington student majoring in Social Welfare.
McPadden works at Plymouth House of Healing in Seattle, which provides homeless and mental health services, and worked in New Zealand with the Salvation Army, assisting women with disabilities. Madi’s mother, Maureen McNally, accepted the $750 award on her behalf.