Women of Distinction to be honored Monday

Emily Abedon

Eight local women will be honored Monday at the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina's annual Women of Distinction event.

The Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina provides programs and services to more than 13,000 girls and 5,000 adults across 21 counties.

"Not all of the women being honored are Girl Scouts, but they are certainly women who are making a big difference in the community," says Judy Fairchild, a lifetime Girl Scout and member of the organizing committee.

The women were chosen by a selection committee based on how well they embody the Girl Scout promise and law, she said. The honorees have demonstrated achievement in their fields, made contributions to the community and acted as positive role models for today's young women. "It was hard to select this year," Fairchild says. "There were far more nominees than there were slots."

This year's recipients are:

Emily Abedon, media

Sullivan's Island resident Emily Abedon, a writer for Charleston Magazine, and her husband co-founded Operation Home, a foundation to provide emergency repairs to substandard housing. Abedon also volunteers at Mary Ford Elementary School and the Boys & Girls Club.

Archie Burkel, community service

Charleston resident Archie Burkel is the founder of the Hat Ladies, a nonprofit that helps organizations in need of volunteers. The Hat Ladies also have started a few projects of their own: monthly hat decorating at the Medical University of South Carolina, the Hat Lady scholarship at Garrett Academy and the Hat Lady Promenade down the streets of Charleston.

Dr. Judy Dubno, medical research

Dr. Judy Dubno is the director of auditory research in the Medical University's department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and a nationally recognized leader in auditory neuroscience. The Johns Island resident has served as national president of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. Discoveries made in her laboratory have improved the understanding of age-related hearing loss and have influenced methods of rehabilitating hearing in older individuals.

Pam Everitt, technology

Pam Everitt is the chief information officer for the State Ports Authority, where she provides oversight of the information technology division. The Charleston resident volunteers with Meals on Wheels, is active in her church, is president of the Evening Exchange Club of Charleston, past president of Charleston Women in International Trade and is vice president of governance board for the Center for Women.

Dr. Susan Morrison, science

Dr. Susan Morrison, a faculty member in the College of Charleston's biology department, has worked in the community in the areas of teaching, at-risk student advising, pre-allied health advising, microbiology, environmental sciences and sustainability. She has been involved with the Girl Scouts since 1954. She lives in Mount Pleasant.

Murray Neale, nonprofit

Murray Neale is the executive director of Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding. When she took over the program, it had 20 private students. During the past 14 years, she has expanded the program to public schools in low-income areas. Today, CATR provides riding lessons to 140 students per year. She lives on Johns Island.

Jennifer Richard, philanthropy

Jennifer Richard spent eight years as an attorney for national law firms and for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In 2000, the Mount Pleasant resident decided to shift her focus to nonprofit organizations, specifically schools and environmental groups. She serves as vice president of client partnerships at the Winkler Group, a Charleston-based nonprofit consulting firm. She provides pro bono fundraising counsel to several local public schools, is vice president of the Lowcountry Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, mentors young nonprofit professionals and is the founding director of the Conservation Corps of I'On.

Jane Thornhill, preservation

Jane Thornhill, a licensed city tour guide since 1954, has been involved with the Preservation Society of Charleston, Historic Charleston Foundation, Junior League of Charleston, Charleston County Association for the Blind, Winthrop College Board of Visitors, College of Charleston Alumni Association, Colonial Dames of America and many others. She lives in Charleston.