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Soroptimist lunch is a salute to women

April 23, 2008|By RUTH SOWBY

Soroptimist International of Glendale celebrated its 65th anniversary in style on Thursday with a luncheon for close to 100 members and supporters at the Hilton Glendale. Also a cause for celebration was the group’s Ninth Annual Accolades — A Salute to Women. The Making a Difference for Women Award was presented to Karla Kerlin. The Women’s Opportunity Award was presented to Laura Butler, and the Violet Richardson Award went to Holly Stevens.

Kerlin, accompanied to the luncheon by husband Richard Torres and their 7-year-old daughter Serena Torres, is the chair of the Glendale Commission on the Status of Women. Kerlin has been a L.A. County Deputy District attorney for 17 years, specializing in the prosecution of sex crimes and child abuse cases.

Butler, who for 20 years has been a single, working mother of three, represents women who have overcome great odds and have worked to improve the lives of other women and girls. In spite of being a victim of domestic violence and debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, 45-year-old Butler is an honors student at Los Angeles Pierce College and plans to transfer to Cal State Northridge for a bachelor’s degree in sociology and, ultimately, a doctorate in psychology. Soroptimists also presented Butler with a $2,000 award.

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“I represent women who have been suppressed,” she said.

Holly, a student at Crescenta Valley High School, established a student service organization at Virgil Middle School in L.A. Her award represents the volunteerism of Violet Richardson, president of the first Soroptimist club. A $750 award went to Holly, and a like amount went to the Virgil Middle School Builders Club. Holly, who was traveling with her school band, was not able to be at the luncheon.

On hand to cheer the awardees were Soroptimist President Margo Bottcher, program chairs Paula Devine (Vice chair on the Glendale Commission on the Status of Women), Liz Mirzaian and Lynn Raggio, accompanied by husband and former Glendale Mayor Carl Raggio.

Also present were L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, Rep. Adam Schiff, and Glendale City Councilmen Ara Najarian and Frank Quintero.

The Pledge of Allegiance was given by Julie Shermer, who lunched with mom Genevieve Sultenfuss, a past honoree. Sandy Schultz delivered the inspirational message.

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