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2010 Women’s Hall of Fame

2010 Women's Hall of Fame inductees (from left) Grace Basque, Carol Diama Brown, Linda Ugalde, Patti Cook, Cindy Armer and Cyd Hoffeld. (Hawaii 24/7 photo courtesy of Cathey Tarleton)

Hawaii 24/7 reporting by Margaret Masunaga

Hawaii County Committee on the Status of Women honored six women Saturday at its annual induction luncheon at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The women were chosen from a field of 12 finalists who were nominated by their peers.

Award recipients were selected based on:

* Contributions and commitment to community service
* Their status as outstanding role models to women and children
* Embodiment of excellence in their fields
* Possession of high moral character and conduct

Grace Basque: Grace was part of a group of volunteers that was instrumental in developing the Kona Coffee Festival, and over a span of 40 years, have shaped it into the cultural gem it has become. Grace chaired the 1st Miss Kona Coffee Pageant in 1971, and served as chair for 11 consecutive years in addition to being an active and dedicated member of the Board of Directors for the Kona Coffee Festival. The word “No” is not in Grace’s vocabulary. She is described as kind hearted, talented, and an excellent organizer who is very intelligent, and yet, very humble. She is a true mentor to those who work beside her. In addition to her contributions to the Kona Coffee Pageant and cultural Festival, Grace somehow finds the time to volunteer for other community activities including the Hawaiian Civic Club, the 4-H club, and the Hawaii Library Commission. She is also involved in community theatre and the performing arts, and is a docent at the Hulihee Palace. Time does not allow a complete listing of all of her community involvement. Most importantly, Grace is selfless and caring and is described by her peers as a humble person who never looks for the spotlight, but would rather allow others to shine.

Carol Diama Brown: Carol was born and raised in Hilo and has long history serving her community. Despite her family losing their home and business in the 1960 Hilo Tsunami, Carol pressed on to Oahu and graduated with honors with a degree in Education and Music. Carol eventually returned to Hilo where she taught at Hilo Union School for almost 30 years! After retiring from teaching in 2000, instead of taking it easy, Carol actually returned to school earning two additional Associates Degrees in Marketing and in Culinary Arts. Carol volunteers at a number of community organizations including the Downtown Improvement Center, Hospice of Hilo, and the Pacific Tsunami Museum. She is also a docent for the Imiloa Astronomy Center, and spends time helping out with activities at the Veteran’s Home in Hilo. In addition to her impressive educational credentials, Carol is fondly described as positive, spiritual, vivacious, diplomatic, non-judgmental, and ageless. Currently, Carol has decided to have some fun and has started a new Chapter for the Red Hat Ladies in Hilo and was nominated as the “Queen” of the “Red Hot Chilis”. Although she is having fun, Carol still finds the time to serve as the Vice-president and President for the Hawaii Island Retired Teacher’s Association.

Linda Ugalde: Linda wears many hats in her community of Volcano and has been a leader and facilitator of grassroots action in her community. She is the president of the Cooper Center Council and through her lobbying has created a hub for learning, sharing, and giving in her community. Many of the community’s grassroots organizations and groups have received support through Linda’s leadership. She is known as a “manpower magnet”, able to mobilize and motivate volunteers to get things done. Whether it’s printing the community newsletter, painting the community center, or mobilizing the community for the Friends Feeding Friends program, Linda is known as The Coordinator, The Communicator, and The Facilitator. In addition to her activities at the Cooper Center, Linda also is a board member of the Hale Lokahi Fellowship, and is active in the Big Island Learning and Arts council. Linda has demonstrated through her actions, that social responsibility must take the form of positive action for the greater good of the community. Although Linda does not see herself as a great orator or public speaker, her record of consistent action and hard work speaks far louder of her commitment to her community.

Patti Cook: Patti has been described as the “go to” person in Waimea. A tireless community worker, she serves on the boards of the Waimea Community Association, the Paniolo Preservation Society, and the Malaai Garden which is the school garden for Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School. Patti’s commitment to the education of Hawaiian children goes beyond full-time: It has been said that there is no “pau hana” for Patti in this area, she is always at work for the children at Waimea Middle School. Patti also assists in the organization of the Waimea Christmas Parade and has donated countless hours to the North Hawaii Drug Free Coalition. She has been described as a person who is happy to remain unrecognized in the background, while in reality is the point person, the facilitator, the organizer, and the person who will always get things done. Her style is described as respectful and helpful, and her inclusive approach to problem solving makes for better community involvement. Patti’s role in community affairs, education, and cultural preservation spans more than three decades. She is a committed, compassionate, community resource bar none.

Cindy Armer: As an elementary school teacher, a counselor, and school principal, Cindy devoted most of her working life towards the betterment of children. After retiring and moving to Kona seven years ago, Cindy has been tireless in her contributions to the Kona community. She has served as the president of the Kona chapter of the American Association of University Women for two terms. She has been involved in the planning and organization for nearly every major triathlon hosted by our community. The list of tasks that she does for these events is too long to enumerate, however Cindy was recognized last year at the Ironman Mahalo Party with the Malaya Award. In addition to her work with these races, she has volunteered with fundraising for various organizations such as the Rotary Club, the Hospital Auxiliary, and the American Cancer Society. She has strived to encourage civic duty by helping with voter registration, as well as working as a precinct official on election day and during early voting. Cindy is also very involved in the Keauhou Canoe Club where she coaches, organizes pot-lucks, and welcomes new and prospective members with her warm personality. Cindy’s skills and “can-do” attitude make her work in the community look easy and she inspires others to become involved. Her humility, character, spirit, and dedication to women and children, make her a shining example to others.

Cyd Hoffeld: Cyd is recognized for her extensive record of dedicated service and commitment to Hawaii’s Women and Children. She was recognized as a leader in the field of domestic violence, served on the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Advisory Commission, and has been a member of the Hawaii County Domestic Violence Inter-Agency Team for many years. She has also chaired the state’s Battered/Formerly Battered Women’s Caucus-Hawaii for the past three years. She also helped launch the award-winning Kea’au Youth Business Center, servicing at-risk youth, as its first Program Director from 2005 to 2008. Cyd is known for her grace, warmth and compassion when working with some of the most challenging populations. Her peers point to her moral character, dedication, and her commitment to women and children, as reasons why she has such an enormous positive impact on her community. Cyd’s contributions to the field of domestic violence are too numerous too mention here. In addition to her work in this area, she is active in the Hilo Jaycees, the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii and Tobacco-Free Big Island, is a member of the Hawaii HIV-AIDS Community Planning Group, and is the president of Healthy Youth Hawaii.

Rounding out the 2010 slate of finalists were: Maile Spencer Napoleon, Rene Siracusa, Rose Rosimo, Jean Murphy, Diane Hultman and JoAnn Bishop Freed.

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