BEND, OR -- OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson was selected as the first ever Bend Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year, at a ceremony Wednesday evening at the Tower Theatre. Johnson was honored for her work to bring a four-year university program to Central Oregon. "Becky's arrival in Central Oregon was one of the best things to happen to this community in a long time. She has built OSU-Cascades into what will be a major educational institution and accelerated the economic and cultural growth of all of Central Oregon," said Mike and Sue Hollern.
Also at the event, Kristina Guerrero was awarded Young Woman of the Year. She is a decorated US Air Force veteran and founder of TurboPup, an energy bar for dogs. Guerrero appeared on the TV show "Shark Tank," and secured a $100,000 investment from Daymond John. She's also an occupational therapist and volunteer for Deschutes County Search and Rescue.
Betsy Warriner was honored with the Community Hero Award. Warriner founded Volunteer Insights, a service learning organization for students. She's also the Executive Director of Volunteer Connect, expanding the organization into Central Oregon's first region-wide volunteer center.
Bella Wiener was given the Young Hero Award at Wednesday's event. In June, the high school student plans to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of a fundraising effort for Sustainable Health Enterprises. When she was just a fourth grader, she and her mom traveled to Kenya to serve in a small medical clinic. She's also an elite swimmer, local community service advocate and tutor for children with special needs. Wiener is also Vice President of Bend High's Gay/Straight Alliance.
(L-R) Johnson, Guerrero, Wiener, Warriner
The Bend Chamber received 47 nominees in total for the four awards categories. “The caliber of nominees was extraordinary and the recipients were truly deserving of this recognition,” organizer Robin Rogers said. “However, to me, they are all winners because they are all amazing women who have demonstrated their commitment to the betterment of our region.” The awards were intended to spotlight women who have excelled in their careers and have made outstanding contributions to the community. “This is the first of many Women of the Year Awards to come,” Rogers said. “We look forward to honoring more women next year.”