Soroptimists take Family Day reins

<p>Lindsay Murdock and Judy Bracher, longtime organizers for the Hermiston Festival of Trees Family Day, hand over the reins of the 17th annual event to Soroptimist International of the Greater Hermiston Area, represented by Secretary June Mills and President Carrie Shilhanek.</p>

A group of Hermiston area women are making a list and checking it twice. Although activities during the annual Family Day at the Festival of Trees will remain virtually the same, Soroptimist International of the Greater Hermiston Area will be in charge of the event.

Taking the reins from longtime volunteers Judy Bracher and Lindsay Murdock, the service organization plans to bring back popular activities, including reindeer art, cookie decorating, tattoos, gift bags and pictures with Santa.

The event is Sunday, Dec. 4 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Hermiston Conference Center. A suggested donation of $5 per family is requested at the door.

Bracher, who has headed up the event since its inception, said a group of Rocky Heights Elementary School teachers were instrumental in the event’s early years. Bracher recruited Murdock a couple of years later.

“We had a lot of community members and teachers help,” Bracher said.

June Mills, secretary of the Soroptimist group, is the chairwoman for the Family Day event. She said with 16-18 club members, they have shared responsibilities as they prepare to host the event, in its 17th year.

“It seems to be a good fit. Our target group is women and girls,” said Soroptimist President Carrie Shilhanek.

Soroptimist, which means best for women, is an international organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities.

Mills said money raised from the event will go to organization projects and the Women’s Opportunity Award, a $1,000 scholarship given annually.

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