Alice Barkus recognized as Woman of Distinction by local Girl Scouts branch
Alice Barkus, longtime volunteer with the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, has been named one of three Girl Scouts Women of Distinction.
Women are nominated by members of the community, and the honor goes to women who have shown outstanding volunteerism in the community, contribution to their professions and are exemplary role models for young women.
Barkus, who described herself as shy, said she was more than a little surprised and overwhelmed when she found out her friend Phyllis LeTart, who is on the board of Hospice of the Panhandle, nominated herand she received the honor.
“To be candid, I was horrified and I was embarrassed because I don’t like the spotlight very much,” Barkus said. “That was hard for me to get my mind around. I love the Girl Scouts and I love our not-for-profit community, and it’s an honor.”
Barkus said her volunteer work began in 2002 with the United Way of Jefferson County, before the organization merged with the United Way of Berkeley and Morgan counties to become the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle. Barkus has been a leader in organizing the United Way’s annual Day of Caring.
In 2005, she was awarded the United Way of Jefferson County’s Van Ryzin Award, and received the United Way Volunteer of the Year award in 2007.
Barkus said she is also involved with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society and the American Conservation Film Festival and Friends of Music.
She said nature and the arts are important to her.
“I love to read and I love to garden; those are my two passions. I’m a lover of music, but my husband is really the one who’s more involved with the Friends of Music. I just help host events,” Barkus said.
Barkus and her husband, Neil, have been married for 43 years, and moved to Shepherdstown in the early 2000s after both of them had been working in Washington, D.C. Barkus said both she and Neil were born and raised in West Virginia.
Barkus said their house in Shepherdstown was originally meant to be a vacation home, but she loves the greater Jefferson County community.
“I volunteer because of the outcome and because of the wonderful people with whom I volunteer,” she said. “I also volunteer because there are so many unmet needs within the community and I feel volunteering can help meet them.”
The 2016 Women of Distinction will be honored with a luncheon on Oct. 12. Barkus said she has been to the events in the past and has seen other outstanding womenmany of whom she knows and has volunteered withbe recognized by the community.
“I’ve been inspired by most of the women. I don’t remember everybody, but there have been some stand-out people whom I’ve known already. These are people with whom I work as a volunteer, and they’re just fabulous people,” Barkus said. “I enjoyed being there to pat them on the back and say, ‘You go, girl.'”
Despite her preference to stay out of the limelight, Barkus said she is looking forward to this year’s luncheon.
“The spotlight is still something I hate, but I don’t think I’ll have to make a speech or anything,” she said. “A lot of our friends are going to be there, my brother and sister-in-law are coming. We’ll have a ball.”