The YWCA Wheeling will hold its annual Tribute to Women Awards celebration to honor notable women of the Ohio Valley for their outstanding achievements in the community, at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at the YWCA, 1100 Chapline St. in Wheeling.
The outstanding women to be honored this year are as follows:
- Carol Austin of Wheeling
- Crystal Simms-Bauer of Wheeling
- Kimberly Florence of Wheeling
- Deiona Bush-Gilliam of Martins Ferry
- Betsy Jividen of Wheeling
“It will be an evening for celebrating the achievements and gifts women bring to our community. The YWCA is honored to recognize the bold accomplishments of five special women,” said Lori Jones, executive director of the YWCA Wheeling.
At the event, each honoree will be introduced by a friend, family member or co-worker. The presenter will be someone who has personal insight into the integrity and character of the honoree. The event is hosted by the YWCA Board Sustainers.
A reception begins at 6 p.m., and the tribute starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or by calling 304-232-0511.
Carol Elizabeth (Wilson) Austin is a lifelong (fifth-generation) resident of Wheeling.
Raised by her grandparents Charles and Elizabeth Gebert, she has been married to Walter T. Austin for 59 years, and they have one son, C. Randall Austin an attorney in Parkland, Fla., and one grandson Charles Austin, who is a student at The Linsly School.
Carol graduated from Triadelphia High School in 1954, continued her education at West Virginia University and graduated in 1958. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1970.
Carol was a teacher, principal and superintendent for 51 years in West Virginia and Ohio before retiring in 2010. She also was a musician, vocalist, pianist and director of music.
Crystal Simms-Bauer works for the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department as the director for Project Hope. She also works as a full-time registered nurse assessment coordinator at Peterson Rehabilitation Hospital. Crystal is passionate about those who are invisible to society; she has worked for Youth Service Systems as a nurse for children in state foster care. She feels blessed to have the opportunity to serve the community as a nurse in this capacity. Crystal offers a fresh voice of encouragement and endurance to the down-trodden.
She is a 1991 graduate of John Marshall High School, a graduate of the BM Spurr School of Practical Nursing and West Virginia Northern Community College. She lives in Woodsdale with her husband Ron of 17 years and their yorkie Bella.
Kim Florence is the regional president and general manager of Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in Wheeling and Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Cross Lanes, W.Va. Kim joined the team at Wheeling Island in June 2003 as a marketing coordinator and has held numerous management positions during her 15 years at the casino. Over the years, she has played a role in the success of Wheeling Island having been an active member of the lobbying efforts to pass Table Game Legislation in 2006 and most recently the passage of Sports Betting Legislation in 2018. In April, Kim was promoted to a regional leadership role, with the company’s acquisition of Mardi Gras Casino & Resort. She is responsible for overseeing the West Virginia casino properties, including the daily operations at Wheeling Island.
She is a graduate of Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing. She is originally from the Ohio Valley and lives in Shadyside with her husband and their two children.
Deiona Bush-Gilliam is the daughter of Rosetta Lee-Gordon and the late Ronald Bush and stepfather Charles Gordon. She is a lifelong resident of the Ohio Valley and a Wheeling Park High School graduate. She is the wife of Russel Gilliam, the mother of Damita Burns and the late Jodeci Bush, the grandmother of De’Veon Ward and a loving sister.
Deiona has been a leader in our community since her early adult years. Shortly after graduating from high school, she enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1984 where she served for three years. After her honorable discharge from the Army, Deiona decided to chase her dreams of seeing the world and she became a flight attendant for Continental Airlines.
Later, Deiona became a registered daycare provider in Ohio helping to shape the lives of children in the Ohio Valley. Then in 2003, she started to share her motherly charm and giving heart with hundreds of children in the Ohio Valley by starting her non-profit dance troupe Generations of Steppaz, G.O.S. Over the last 16-years, Deiona has provided children of all ages a safe place to express their creativity and stay off the streets through her work in G.O.S. The dance troupe is free for all area children to join and learn the art of hip-hop dance, teamwork, and above all, respect for themselves, their peers and others. Each year, the children of the award-winning G.O.S. participate in several parades and perform at several venues; they’ve been featured as backup dancers in a hip-hop music video with DJ Unk; and they have performed for the Pittsburgh Steelers several times.
When Deiona isn’t busy cultivating the lives of area youth, she has worked with a cleaning company and most recently, she has obtained her CNA and helps older adults who need a little extra help, which is another passion in her life. She and her husband Russel are certified foster parents in the state of Ohio and West Virginia. She has also taken her talents of doing hair and put them to good use by creating wigs for cancer patients and those suffering with alopecia.
Betsy Steinfeld Jividen
Betsy Steinfeld Jividen was appointed as the commissioner for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, effective January of 2018. She is responsible for overseeing the state’s 10 prisons, 10 jails, four community corrections centers and 10 juvenile facilities, along with approximately 4,100 employees and more than 12,000 offenders.
She previously was the first woman to be appointed as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of West Virginia, where she spent 37 years, serving in both the criminal and civil divisions of the office, as well as in senior leadership positions, including civil chief, senior litigation counsel, first assistant U.S. attorney and three terms as the acting U.S. attorney.
In addition, Betsy served as the re-entry coordinator for the Northern District of West Virginia, working with correctional staff, probation officers, inmates and re-entrants, assisting with projects and programs aimed at making successful re-entry a priority and a reality. Betsy was also instrumental in the development of the first federal drug court program for the Northern District of West Virginia. She serves as a board member for the Unity Center, HoH Share and the YWCA’s residential program for Women in Transition, and as a volunteer at the House of Hagar and for the Project HOPE homeless outreach program.
Betsy is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the West Virginia University College of Law. She has been recognized by the National Association of Former United States Attorneys for her exceptional service to the Department of Justice and the United States of America. In 2011, she was named as one of West Virginia’s outstanding women attorneys, and in 2014, she was selected as a Fellow of the West Virginia Bar Foundation.