Communication Builds Our Community

Women Who Made History Recognized by Lake Wales AAUW

Dr. Glenda Morgan, Linda Kimbrough and Kathy Manry Smith Honored For Contributions

Women Who Made History on the Ridge was the theme of three awards granted by the Laker Wales chapter of the American Association of University Women this week.

Dr. Glenda Morgan and two former mayors of Lake Wales, Linda Kimbrough and Kathy Manry Smith, were honored for their years of contributions to the community at a luncheon at the Good Shepherd Church March 12.

Robert Connors

Former Lake Wales Mayor Kathy Manry Smith (R) received her award from the American Association of University Women as one of the "Women Who Made History on the Ridge." The award was presented by current City Clerk Jennifer Nanek.

Each of the three was introduced by Lake Wales City Clerk Jennifer Nanek, who included personal anecdotes of there lives, before being given an opportunity to address the gathering. Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson read a proclamation issued by the City of Lake Wales in honor of the event while also representing his wife, Jean, a past award recipient who was unable to attend.

Each of the three honorees had unique and inspiring life stories to share with the audience.

Smith, the daughter of a beloved local physician, attended Emory University in Atlanta and spent years there and in Philadelphia working in the retail industry. Her work brought her to multiple Asian nations before returning to Lake Wales in 1993.

Here she applied her expertise by opening a children's clothing store on Stuart Avenue before becoming engaged in local politics after noticing "negativity" coming from the dais at city commission meetings. Conversations with friends, including Morgan, convinced her that she should run for office. She soundly defeated an incumbent and went on to become mayor.

Kimbrough moved to Lake Wales more than 50 years ago with her husband, John. She graduated from Roosevelt High School as the Salutatorian in 1969, but lost her husband in 1973, becoming the single parent to two young children.

Robert Connors

Former Mayor Linda Kimbrough (L) was the city's first Black female city commissioner. She was recognized for her historic role by the Lake Wales Chapter of the AAUW.

She enrolled in evening college classes and eventually received her bachelor's degree in business administration while working full time in the banking industry. Her career took her through the banking, financial services, and housing industries.

Morgan moved to Lake Wales with her husband, Dr. J.D. Morgan, eventually opening her own practice in psychology. Her volunteer work has focused on the Lake Wales Public Library. After joining the Lake Wales Library Association board in the early 1990's she became president in 1994 and continued in that role for more than 20 years while also serving on the city's library board.

Robert Connors

Dr. Glenda Morgan, a long time advocate of reading and the Lake Wales Public Library, served as president of the Library Association for more than two decades. She was honored for her public service and advocacy by the Lake Wales AAUW Chapter among "Women Who Made History on the Ridge."

She has continued her advocacy for reading and the library, addressing city commission meetings, the Polk County Board of County Commission meetings and other agencies advocating for the Library Association and all public library services.

Kimbrough became the first African-American woman elected to the Lake Wales City Commission in 1995, serving until 2006, and as Mayor from 2000-2002. She has served on the boards of the Lake Wales Medical Center, The Care Center, Police Athletic League and the city's pension and recreation boards, as well as the Wiltshire Foundation, The Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Foundation, and Unity in Community.

Smith has volunteered for multiple area organizations, including the Care Center, Unity in Community, Lake Wales Library, Bok Tower Gardens, the United Way, and Good Shepherd Church, where she served as a senior warden.

All three women spoke of the need for public service. "In a city, you feel almost encouraged to be anonymous. 'They' do everything," Smith said. "But in a small town, 'they' is 'us.' If you don't do something, nobody else will."

Robert Connors

A large crowd attended the award presentation ceremony at the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Lake Wales, enjoying a buffet luncheon and desserts.

"There are plenty of positives from volunteering to better your community, whether in your church, job, or neighborhood. I've learned that we make the difference by putting life into our community, not just through our children, but by our very nature," Smith said. "My message to other women is that they can do it. Whatever 'that' is - they can do that."

 

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