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Soroptimists to honor county Humane Society supporter

Judy Barkley, shown with her husband, Jack, is the 2023 Ruby Award winner chosen by Soroptimist International of Butler County, having originally been chosen for the award in 2020. She has worked with the Butler County Humane Society for more than 35 years and is an honorary board member of the society. Eagle file photo
Presentation of Community Ruby Award three years in the making

On Saturday, April 1, Judy Barkley will be awarded by Soroptimist International of Butler County in a recognition three years in the making.

Barkley initially was chosen to receive the Soroptimist’s Community Ruby Award in 2020 for her work with the Butler County Humane Society, but the annual Spring Fling luncheon was postponed due to COVID-19. She was not able to attend the luncheon in 2022, but the Soroptimists were adamant about recognizing Barkley.

Despite the postponement, Barkley’s work with the Humane Society and other community organizations such as the Lighthouse Foundation have not stopped.

“I'm very proud of the shelter now, we're moving more into the community at large,” Barkley said. “We have a partnership with VOICe, and to me that's a phenomenal thing.”

The Soroptimist Spring Fling is an annual luncheon where the organization’s members recognize award and scholarship winners and also have a basket raffle, buy-a-prize and a 50/50 raffle.

Becky Plymale, the Soroptimist’s award chairwoman, said Barkley is a perfect example of a woman who deserves to be recognized at the event.

“We look for a woman who is very involved in the community and is giving and generous and does things that support women,” Plymale said. “She has just been such a fabulous supporter of especially the Humane Society. I am so pleased we could finally make this work.”

Barkley has worked with the Butler County Humane Society for more than 35 years and is an honorary board member, after having been on the board for many years. She was a driving force behind the capital campaign to move the organization to its current building on Route 68, was instrumental in changing the organization to a no-kill shelter and worked with trustees to complete the adoption center for the Humane Society building.

Barkley said she still is involved with the Humane Society’s fundraising, helping organize the organization’s Fur Ball and Wine and Whiskers,

“Sometimes we'd go month to month trying to pay the bills, but we are now very solvent,” Barkley said. “We are strictly funded by personal contributions and fundraising.”

She also said that the society converting to a no-kill shelter most likely was the best day in its history.

Although Plymale said Barkley is especially humble about the work she performs in the community, other members of the Soroptimists also have noticed her contributions.

“While Soroptimists supports women in need, we also celebrate the success and commitment to service of women like Judy,” said Donna Sybert, president of the Butler County chapter. “Her work at the Humane Society makes our community just a better place to live.”

Barkley said she is thankful to the Soroptimists for their work in the community, an appreciation that makes the honor all the more special to her.

“It's an honor to be recognized by this group of women who have worked so hard,” Barkley said.

Doors open for the Spring Fling fundraiser luncheon at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 1, at the Butler Country Club. Tickets are available for presale only, and can be purchased for $45 each by calling 724-321-1309 or 724-272-7935 until March 24.

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