4 Clark County women celebrated as extraordinary

Four Clark County women were recognized for outstanding leadership Tuesday during a ceremony put on by the Women’s Partnership Funds.

Debra Baker, Kali Lawrence, Shelley Lopez and Daragh Porter-Wobbe were all named a Clark County extraordinary woman of the year.

The event was put on by the Women’s Partnership Funds, an affiliate of the Springfield Foundation created to address problems facing women in Clark County. The fund now has about $110,000 in its endowment to provide grants and so far has worked with Girls on the Run, a program that uses running to empower girls at several Clark County elementary schools.

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A portion of the proceeds from the luncheon supports the partnership funds.

Baker taught full time at Springfield City Schools from 1982 to 2010. During that time she taught reading recovery, helping the bottom 20 percent of students catch up with their classmates.

“I am a teacher. I serve blind students and adults of all ages,” said Baker, who’s also blind.

Lopez has called Springfield home for the past 20 years. She has a long history of community service and opened a counseling service open to anyone — regardless of their ability to pay. She also heads up the Nehemiah Foundation.

“I stand here today not as an extraordinary woman, but a woman who has had extraordinary opportunities to love, to listen and to lead,” Lopez said.

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Wobble moved to Springfield after she retired from a successful career in business, including serving as president of MarathonAshlandPipeline. She also served as general auditor and vice president of finance withAshland.

“From the time I moved to this community, I have been so impressed by how many impressive women are busy doing things in Clark County,” she said.

Kali Lawrence was recognized as a promising young woman in the community. She graduated fromWittenbergUniversity and works with the Springfield Promise Neighborhood.

“I wanted initially to be a part of a community, to invest myself,” she said of her hopes after college. “Springfield has allowed me to do that.”

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She said she tries to support those who need her help the most.

“Community is built by people who do ordinary and extraordinary things every day,” Lawrence said.

Keynote speaker Jessie Shropshire, a successful Springfield native, spent 40 years working at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and is the CEO of Communication Dynamics, a training and consulting firm. She spent much of her speech talking about her time in the former Clark County Children’s Home, where she fondly remembered the women who took care of her and her siblings after her mother died when she was 12 years old.

“They were a bright light in a sea of darkness for a 12-year-old,” Shropshire said. “My surrogate mothers were my unsung heroes … They loved children. They had to love children because there were 2o girls in the dormitory.”

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