Hinkle heads 2013 class of 'Women'
JANESVILLE — People who know Liz Hinkle say her passion is to serve the community and to inspire others to do the same.
Hinkle, 29, Janesville, is one of six women to be honored during the YWCA Rock County's annual Women of Distinction Awards ceremony Friday, April 12, at the Holiday Inn Express & Conference Center, 3100 Wellington Place.
"It's such an honor to be recognized as somebody who actively does work in our community just like these other women (of distinction) who have gone on to inspire other people," she said.
Hinkle provides guidance and understanding to the community, Edgerton police officer Brody Kapellen wrote in his nomination letter.
"The compassion she exudes is contagious and empowering to those who surround her. It honestly humbles me to see such a person able to see beyond 'corporate America' and really see people for who they are and try to make a difference in the community," Kapellen wrote.
Hinkle serves on the Diversity Action Team and adopts a family for the holidays.
She and her husband, Adam Hinkle, started Rustic Roots Revival, a personal chef business that helps those leaving prison reintegrate to the community by giving them jobs and helping them find affordable housing.
"People don't necessarily trust you if you have a history of problems. We want to create opportunities for people who really want to change their lives," Hinkle said.
She and her husband know what it's like. Both have overcome drug and alcohol addiction.
Rustic Roots Revival donates 5 percent of its revenue to a nonprofit of the client's choice.
She also helped start Beloit Total Harvest, the first fresh food bank in the area, by working alongside local farmers, nonprofits, Beloit College students and community leaders. She helped gather food from local farmers to sell at the name-your-own-price market in the Merrill neighborhood in Beloit. All money raised was given back to the community.
Hinkle donates a portion of her paycheck from AT&T, where she works as a finance manager, to local addiction centers. She helps orchestrate meals at the Sparrow's Nest, a homeless shelter in Beloit, and delivers food to the local women's shelter.
"Her dedication and motivation to helping people regain control of their lives is worthy of the 2013 YWCA Women of Distinction Award," Kapellen said.
Her husband agreed: "She exhibits all the qualities of a woman of distinction because she has inspired her co-workers to give up drinking and to start better eating habits. She also recently adopted a family who had been torn apart by the father getting cancer."
In her nomination letter, Hinkle's mother, Rene Bue, compared Hinkle to an oak tree.
"She has bent and given in when necessary only to stand straight and tall again," Bue wrote.
"She continues to grow stronger every day as a person who happily gives of herself and seeks out other ways she can help her family, friends and community."
WOMEN OF DISTINCTION
These women are recipients of YWCA Rock County 2013 Women of Distinction Awards.
A selection committee made up of YWCA staff, board members and past recipients chose them from a pool of 16 nominations. These awards honor women who have distinguished themselves through leadership, personal achievement or volunteer work.
The following entries are from nomination materials:
-- Marion Barlass is the co-operator of her family's 560-acre dairy farm. The 500-head Barlass Jersey herd has ranked in the top 10 nationally for dairy production. Barlass serves on the board for the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. She mentors the next generation of producers through her involvement with 4-H and FFA. Barlass also is well known as the first to bring comfort to community members who are ill, grieving or in need.
-- Ann Forbeck serves as a social worker and homeless liaison in the Janesville School District. She works to address the needs of homeless students in Janesville, while collaborating with social workers in surrounding districts to promote the community effort called 16:49. Her relationships with community organizations have allowed the school district better access to the students they serve. She donates time to ensure students' transportation to school, stable housing, medical services and clothing.
-- Kerry Swanson is president of St. Mary's Janesville Hospital. Since she moved to Janesville in 2008, Swanson has helped forge a partnership between UW-Rock County, Blackhawk Technical College and UW-Oshkosh for the SOAR Ahead nursing program. Securing St. Mary's Health Systems' financial support for the program went beyond Kerry's usual duties as president, and she ensured the organization was the first donor for the project that helps Rock County women achieve their career goals.
-- Christine Rebout is executive director of the Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, where her leadership helped create more than $4 million in economic impact for Rock County in 2011 and helped distinguish Janesville as a destination for conventions and tours. Rebout's philanthropy extends to a number of Rock County organizations, and she frequently is the first to volunteer when there is a need.
-- Harmony Sheperd is a junior at Parker High School and is the YWCA Young Woman of Distinction. Her experience with domestic violence is personal: four of her cousins were murdered during a domestic assault. Sheperd took this tragedy as an opportunity to spread awareness in Janesville and prevent other families from experiencing such heartbreak. In conjunction with Student Leadership Council, she created a video about the dangers of domestic violence. Shepherd shared that with other students and accepted contributions for purple awareness ribbons. She collected more than $700, which she donated to the YWCA domestic violence shelter.