ASHLAND -- Five inspiring Ashland County residents joined a list of approximately 200 awarded the Women of Achievement nomination. The ceremony took place Thursday night at Brethren Care Village on Center Street.

The Class of 2019 includes Debbie Portner, Wende Lance, Karen DeSanto Kellogg, Suellen Valentine and Angela Woodward.

“These women and so many more have worked hard to recognize and meet means of the community,” said Jennifer Whitmore, spokesperson at the ceremony and a 2016 Woman of Achievement inductee. “They have overcome difficulty with grace.

“They have raised families and helped their neighbors. They volunteer and are generous with their time and their gifts and their treasure.”

There was also a Young Woman to Watch award presented to 17-year-old Alaina Reed, a junior at Ashland High School. This marks only the second year this award was presented. Reed spoke about the impact women have on the future.

“While I wish I could feed every person in the world – that noble desire is not putting any food on the table,” Reed said. “Large-scale change starts with small-scale action.

“I am very fortunate to have been raised in this community, where there is such an emphasis on helping others.”

The ceremony was catered and included a silent auction featuring various gift bundles from local venues and several sunflower arrangements.

“Women in America have a voice,” Whitmore said. “We have a voice in government; we have a voice in community organizing; in business; in churches.

“We have a voice because of strong women leaders who didn’t give up.”

For more information on the inductees, click here. Community members concluded the night with a standing ovation.

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