Being a part of the Girls Scouts of America is a privilege and a responsibility and was on display Sept. 14 during the 2010 Women of Distinction Awards ceremony at Salvatore's Italian Gardens. The event took many days of hard work and dedication on the parts of the Girl Scouts, a selection committee and volunteers.

The Women of Distinction Awards are a Girl Scouts of USA program that recognizes the achievements of women, provides mentoring opportunities for older Girl Scouts, and funds Girl Scout educational opportunities and programs for girls ages 5 to 17.

The nine 2010 honorees were selected from a distinguished group of more than 50 nominees representing the Girl Scouts of Western New York's nine-county jurisdiction.

"With nine categories and 50 entries for possible recipients, each person on the selection committee had their favorites," said Amy Johnson, chief development officer of the Girl Scouts of Western New York.

The committee made some unanimous decisions, while others required some heated arguments. Afterward, Johnson called each person that had nominated someone to announce whether the nominee had been selected.

At the ceremony, each recipient was given her award by a Girl Scout. There were 20 Girl Scouts who applied to be presenters.

Julietta Gervase, a junior at Nardin Academy, said, "I got an e-mail saying to apply to present if we wanted to. After I applied, I had an interview to see who I should meet and present."

Julietta likes science, so she was paired with Tamara Brown, project controls engineer at Praxair.

Sarah Militello, a senior at Sacred Heart Academy who has been a Girl Scout for nine years, presented the award to Kathie Bivona, founder of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

"Kathie is truly amazing, she uses all of her resources to help the children of Buffalo, and help stop exploitations," Sarah said.

Laura Skinner, a junior at Nardin Academy, said, "[Judy Feldman] is inspiring, she can raise a family, run a business and still have fun." Feldman is senior vice president, information technology and chief information officer for Independent Health.

Tara Minogue, who sang the national anthem, and Kelly Rand, both seniors at Orchard Park High School with 12 years of Girl Scouting and Gold Award recipients, were the mistresses of ceremony. They were "the personalities of the event [and] kept things going during the show and during rehearsals."

The other award winners and their presenters are: Essie Calhoun, Eastman Kodak Co., presented by Laura Godly of Farmington; Lauren Fix, the Car Coach, presented by Kaitlyn Victor of Wheatfield; Dr. Yvonne S. Minor-Ragan, Westminster Community Charter School, presented by Kristin Wach of Orchard Park; Capt. Gina M. Pizziconi Cupples, Air Force Reserves, presented by Maggie McGuire of North Tonawanda; Bette Stonebraker, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, presented by Emma Janicki of West Seneca; Jenn Stuczynski Suhr, Olympic pole vaulter, presented by Sarah Yahoodik of Webster.

More than 500 people attended the event.

Paul Fix III is a junior at Park School.