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Red Cross gives Clara Barton Awards - The Star Democrat - Easton, Maryland: Life

Red Cross gives Clara Barton Awards

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Posted: Sunday, October 17, 2010 1:00 am | Updated: 10:39 am, Sun Oct 17, 2010.

The Talbot Country Club was the scene of "Sparkle Into the Night" Friday evening, Oct. 8 a night of fundraising and honor for local heroines at the Clara Barton Awards for women of the Eastern Shore.

The event was organized by the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula.

More than 120 guests enjoyed a silent auction, then settled down for a sumptuous gourmet meal and a program celebrating the accomplishments of five Eastern Shore women.

Clara Barton is one of American history's most famous heroines, a pioneer and humanitarian who risked her life to bring aid to soldiers in the field during the Civil War. She founded the American Red Cross in 1881.

Her example of selflessness, leadership and commitment to community inspired the Clara Barton Awards.

Keynote speaker for the evening was Christie Vilsack, former first lady of Iowa and wife of United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Christie Vilsack also is the executive director for the Iowa Initiative, a privately-funded five-year research program which aims to reduce the high rate of unintended pregnancies among Iowa women ages 18 to 30.

Joining her in speaking and presenting awards was Brig. Gen. Annette Deener, director of the Army National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters in Maryland.

Deener has been the recipient of many military honors and was inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame in 2007.

The Philanthropist of the Year Award was given to Alice Bower, who founded the Women & Girls Fund in 2002.

Bower sought to support charities that make a real difference in the human condition, and was intrigued by the idea of a fund devoted to women's issues that was also run by women. Today the Women and Girls Fund has more than $400,000 in endowment funds due to the pooling of a number of resources and continues to support under-funded programs and initiatives that aid women and girls.

Elizabeth Devlin was named the Humanitarian of the Year.

An education major, Devlin cultivated an interest in literacy tutoring even as a student at Davidson College. While working a tutoring job, she founded an after-school book club for at-risk girls called Girl Talk: Read to Achieve.

Since her teaching career began in 2004, Devlin has founded a similar club in Dorchester County as Page Turners: Girls Who Read to Achieve.

The Lifesaver of the Year Award was given to Lisa Oesterling.

Oesterling is the director of Christ Episcopal Day School in Stevensville.

In April 2010, Oesterling went to the Grasonville dump to get rid of trash when she noticed a few people gathered around an unconscious man on the ground. She performed Red Cross CPR until paramedics arrived and took over. After surgery and rehabilitation, the man is alive and well today.

An Armed Forces Woman of the Year award was given to retired U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Donna Dear. Dear is a Vietnam veteran and Gulf War era veteran. She retired as sergeant major after 27 years of active duty service.

In 2006 she was installed as the first female Commander of the American Legion, Blake Blackston Post 77 in that post's 86-year history.

Dr. Evangeline Garcia also was named Armed Forces Woman of the Year. A retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, Garcia served as chief of Mental Health Clinics in her overseas assignments and currently is a member of the Maryland Defense Force. She is a veteran of the Desert Storm/Desert Shield conflict, and has served in support missions to New York City after Sept. 11, 2001, and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, as well as extensive missions in the Philippines.

Garcia is CEO of Foundation Aid to the Philippines, a non-profit group that travels there annually on medical missions. She currently is on the staff of the Eastern Shore Hospital Center and is in private practice in Cambridge.

Proceeds from the "Sparkle Into the Night" silent auction and dinner will help the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula continue the work of bringing relief to victims of disasters and to prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

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