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Woman of the Year 'touches many different lives'

Published: Sunday, April 21, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST • Updated: Sunday, April 21, 2013 12:15 p.m. CST
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(H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)
Laura Crain has won Woman of the Year honors from Woodstock Professional and Business Women.

WOODSTOCK – Laura Crain was named as Woman of the Year by Woodstock Professional & Business Women last week at the Stage Left Café in Woodstock.

Doreen Paluch, who chairs the Woman of the Year Committee, said Crain was selected based on her length of service, leadership qualities and unique contributions and impact on the community.

“Laura touches many different lives in many different ways,” Paluch said.

Crain was nominated by her husband, Wesley, who called her a “loving wife, mother and best friend.”

Laura said she did not know her husband had nominated her until she received a phone call that she won. “I found out I had won while on a college visit with my daughter at Rockford College,” she said.

“I was stunned. I felt like asking them to check to see if they had the right person,” she said.

“It’s a very exciting honor,” Laura Crain said. “Very unexpected.”

Crain said she always has been active. “I’ve always been busy. I like to be involved in things. I don’t sit a lot. I like being involved in things in the community, and make sure whatever I am doing, there’s a benefit to it.”

According to the nomination letter from her husband, Crain has been with Woodstock School District 200 since 2004. In 2007 she was named as the project manager for the Drug-Free Community Support Program for all District 200 schools. She has started several programs within District 200, including the STAR Mentoring Council, which she is program coordinator.

She and other members of the STAR Mentoring Council attended the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America conference in Washington, D.C., last fall where they gave a presentation during one of the seminars.

Crain has been a member of the city of Woodstock Cultural Diversity and Social Awareness Commission since 2008. She was part of the delegation from the city and county that traveled to Woodstock’s sister city Guadalupe, Zacatecas.

She has been a volunteer for the Sybaquay Council of the Girl Scouts since 1999.

“This lovely, outstanding wife of mine for 26 years is more than a wife, but my friend, compassionate partner, but also a loving, caring mother of three daughters,” Wesley Crain said in his nomination letter. “She has the true passion for the education, growth and development of our young people in Woodstock, but all around the country, which make her an ideal recipient for the 2013 Woman of the Year.”

The WPBW has been selecting a Woman of the Year since 1975. Lillian Strohm, the first recipient in 1975, was honored for her work in raising funds that made the Opera House renovations possible.

Woodstock Professional and Business Women is dedicated to community service and the elevation of standards for women in business and the professions. It is committed to extending opportunities for education to women who wish to begin or further their careers in the professional or business fields.

To pay tribute to community service it awards the “Woman of the Year” to a Woodstock area resident who has given selflessly to her community by way of education, fine arts, or social service.

It also awards the Frances Kuhn Scholarship each year to three women from the community, over the age of 22, who express a desire to return to school in order to further their careers in the business or professional fields.’

For more information about WPBW, visit www.wpbw.org.

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