Zonta Club of Alpena

Golden Hug

Zonta Club of Gaylord

Charter Date:

Golden Hug Award 

presented to an unsung hero in our community who embodies the true spirit of giving to and empowering others

Past Golden Hug Award Recipients

1999 – Virginia Christian – Devoted to animals helping the abused, abandoned and lost, she worked to establish the first “No Kill” policy in the county.

2000 – Betty Cross – Committed to youth, this former teacher continued tutoring at no charge and helped handicapped children swim.

2002 – Mayme Stone – Instrumental in establishing both the OMH Auxiliary & St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.


2003 – Betty Krueger – She had a devoted and distinguished record serving Zonta through the Alpena Club.


2004 – Cathy Baragrey – Well known for compassionately helping victims achieve their rights with dignity and respect.


2005 – Erma Backenstose – Former Otsego County Treasurer & Commissioner who was committed to community service as a volunteer.


2005 – Evelyn Pratt – She devoted much time and energy to her church, volunteerism and role as County Clerk.


2008 – Abbigail Hamilton – This former teacher enriched the lives of youth as she pioneered Gaylord Guardian Gals while working on several other community programs.


2010 – Suzanne Stock – A Master Gardner, who not only beautified our community, but also worked tirelessly providing essentials to the less fortunate through the Caring Closet.

2012 – Maureen Derenzy – Pioneered advanced library programs in our rural community and served on multiple community boards sharing wisdom and passion.


2014 – Loretta Miller – Served the elderly and low income individuals with compassion as a devoted ombudsman.



*Gaylord Herald Times Courtesy Photo

2015 – Kelly Korson – Organized a rolling refuge for the homeless and mentoring people seeking recovery from addictions.*


2016 – Sandy Glasby – Brings families together through live theater and her effort to enrich our community through the performing arts.


2017 –  Mary Tomaski – With kindness, humor and great energy, she works to further the mission of several local non-profits including AAUW and the Otsego Community Foundation.



2018 – Barb Switalski – Empowered youth as a highly respected teacher and cherished swim coach.  Barb served the community through multiple non-profits including Alpenfest, United Way, AAUW, and the Otsego County Historical Society.