It is tradition each year for the previous year’s Woman of the Year recipient to announce the newest winner at the annual Women’s Conference hosted at USU Eastern. However, last year’s recipient, Laurel Johansen, is currently serving a mission with her husband and was unable to honor the tradition in lieu of other priorities. Therefore, Head of the Woman of the Year Committee Ellen Serfustini stepped up and announced this year’s chosen women.
Before the announcement, Serfustini took time to speak on what her multiple nominators had to say about the winner. This year’s pick is a woman of integrity, tenacity and courage, Serfustini explained. She is instrumental in creating and building programs and services and has a strong work ethic and great leadership qualities. She is not limited by challenges or difficulties that arise and has worked in human services, grant development, board and council volunteering, programs for food assistance, child abuse, women’s shelters and more.
This woman was announced as PAWS and PERKIE Travels creator and Active Re-Entry Director Nancy Bentley.
“This lady is unbelievable and we had several nominations,” stated Serfustini.
Bentley’s influence extends far beyond Carbon and Emery counties. Since Bentley began PERKIE Travels in 1994, a service to assist those that need medical assistance out of the area that cannot afford the travel, the PERKIE van has made over 15,000 trips.
As an avid dog lover, Bentley also began the PAWS (People & Animals Working to Serve) Program, which utilizes the use of furry friends to teach, care for and assist local students, care center residents and more. While humbly and graciously accepting the award, Bentley praised the local area and community as a whole. She stated that the real difference is the way that everyone is always willing to come together and help.
“Truly, none of this has been me; it has been this great community,” Bentley concluded.