PIQUA — The YWCA Piqua has announced the selection of the 2016 Women of Excellence and Young Woman of Tomorrow honorees. The Women of Excellence are Nancy Bowman of Troy, and Ruth A. Koon of Piqua. The Young Woman of Tomorrow is Mindy Bach of Tipp City.
The women will be honored at the 20th annual Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon, a gala celebration scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Piqua Country Club. The keynote speaker for the event will be Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.
In announcing the honorees, Leesa A. Baker, executive director of the YWCA Piqua, said: “Many nominations were submitted from clubs, schools, organizations and individuals. The selection was difficult and an impartial panel of judges, composed of men and women from throughout the county, did an excellent and thorough job in selecting this year’s honorees. We are certainly pleased with the selection and are happy to be honoring these three outstanding women who continue to distinguish themselves in their life endeavors.”
Nancy Bowman, 2016 Woman of Excellence honoree, is known for being an outstanding journalist in Miami County for more than three decades. She is highly regarded by her readers and by local governmental, civic and business leaders as an excellent “hard news reporter” who can be counted on to get the facts right and maintain the highest level of journalistic integrity.
Nancy began her journalism writing with the student newspaper at Loudonville High School in Ashland County, Ohio. She continued her writing pursuit and graduated from Kent State University. Her journalism career began at The Troy Daily News as a reporter and she rose to the leadership position of managing editor. Nancy is currently a contributing writer for the Dayton Daily News and works as a freelance reporter for several Miami County publications and is a Communication Specialist for Premier Health’s Upper Valley Medical Center.
Her talents are widely known because of her work with not only county government and schools, but also with the arts/culture and important fund-raising endeavors of many local organizations. Her news reporting has made a difference in many lives and local not-for-profit groups by raising awareness according to her nominator, Justin Coby of Health Partners Clinic.
Bowman is a graduate of the Leadership Troy program and later served on its board. She has also been on the board for Brukner Nature Center and is currently on the Troy Dollars for College organization. She is married to Terry Burr who is her top supporter and Bowman said she couldn’t do her work without his support.
“One of the most remarkable aspects of Nancy’s contribution to our community is how much time and energy she dedicates to being a reporter. She does it because she knows it is necessary to do her job well,” said Jim Witmer, a former Troy Daily News/Dayton Daily News colleague.
Ruth A. Koon was nominated for her countless hours of community service in shining a positive spotlight on and throughout the city of Piqua. Koon’s quest for excellence and skill set bring people together to complete a task from start to finish.
Koon, a Piqua native married to husband Jim, attended Mount Saint Joseph College before obtaining her interior design degree from the Interior Design Society. She is an allied member of the American society of Interior Designers and also studied art through classes at Edison Community College.
She is well known for the many projects and organizations she has been involved with including, most notably, the Hotel Library Legacy Alliance which saved the Fort Piqua Hotel. Under her leadership, the Alliance raised nearly $4 million to save the historic building that now houses the Piqua Public Library, community meeting rooms, a renovated ballroom and much more. In addition to this huge undertaking, Koon played a vital role in the formation of Mainstreet Piqua and served on its board. She was the first chairperson of the Piqua Arts Council and chaired for many years the Miami Valley Fine Arts Exhibition. She was instrumental in the creation of the Music in the Parks program.
Koon also chaired the William A. Pitsenbarger Statue Committee that raised more than $100,000 to honor Piqua’s Medal of Honor Recipient. That committee is now known as the Friends of the Piqua Parks of which she is chairperson.
For her countless volunteer hours and roles in many organizations in the community, Koon received the Piqua’s highest honor, the Order of George award, in 2009.
Her accomplishments are many and include service to Piqua Catholic Center for Early Learning; Piqua Catholic School—Dollars for our Scholars; Pro Piqua Committee; Clear Creek Farm; Friends of the Piqua Public Library; Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; YMCA Board of Trustees.
“The positive difference Ruth has made in our community will be seen and felt into the future,” said nominator Edna Stiefel.
Mindy Bach, 2016 Young Woman of Tomorrow honoree, is a 2016 honor graduate of Troy High School and currently a freshman at Ohio University majoring in Art. Mindy is artistic, organized, motivated, reliable and able to see the big picture, according to her nominator and Edison State Community College professor, Vivian Blevins, Ph.D.
Bach co-produced a performance at the Mayflower Theatre with a college English professor focusing on “Women in Theatre.” She wrote monologues for the performance, helped a carpenter build the set, was the most competent teen performer in the course and helped educate the audience about the issues that girls and women face.
Mindy also wrote an essay for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Competition in which she wrote of the challenges of her mother’s suffering from multiple sclerosis. During this time Mindy maintained honor roll status throughout high school while taking college classes, caring for her three siblings, her mother and their home. She did all of this while holding four jobs and still being active in the community as a Team Leader at Troy Clubhouse; Reading Buddy with first graders; Troy High School Wrestling Score Keeper and concession stand cashier. “
My mother’s illness and her passing in 2015 definitely made me grow up a lot faster than other kids,” said Bach.
A talented artist, Mindy has had her work displayed at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, the Randalls’ residence in Tipp City and the Troy Board of Education.
“Mindy has touched many lives,” a nominator wrote. “She stands tall, proud, resilient—a role model for young women. Mindy is the student who is going to be the leader in her community and brings the promise of tomorrow into each week of today.”
For more information about the Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon or to reserve a ticket, stop at the YWCA Piqua, 418 N. Wayne St., or call (937) 773-6626. Seating for the event is limited.