Soroptimist International District II Director Anita Newman, at left, hands flowers to Heather Kohler, who was the recipient of the 2012 Womenâ€™s Opportunity Award at the Soroptimist International of Wapakoneta Awards Banquet, as Sheila Metz, at right, looks on.
A local mother, who is working toward a degree in occupational therapy, is a recipient of an award given by a local club — not only at the local level but on the district level.
Heather Kohler, of Wapakoneta, was presented the 2012 Women’s Opportunity Award by Soroptimist International of Wapakoneta at their 2012 awards banquet held Tuesday evening.
The goal of the local Soroptimist club is to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world.
Kohler is raising her 6-year-old daughter, Taylor, while working part-time and going to school full-time to achieve her goal of a career in the medical field.
The 2004 Wapakoneta High School graduate was surprised when she first learned she was the recipient of this award.
After filling out the application that her boss provided her, she she said was not confident she would be chosen for the award.
“One month went by and I hadn’t heard anything
yet,” Kohler said, “but then I got a letter in the mail saying I was in the running.”
Kohler was happy when she received this news because she never thought she would get this award.
The occupational therapy student at Rhodes State College is scheduled to graduate in May 2013.
“I love it,” Kohler said of occupational therapy. “I love being able to meet new people and helping them.”
After her father, Edward, had a stroke, Kohler said she saw the positive effects that therapy had on his recovery and this sparked her interest into going into this field.
She said her father looked forward to meeting with his occupational therapists, who helped him get back on his feet.
“It really changed his life,” Kohler said of the therapy.
Kohler also juggles college with her job as a cook at Wapakoneta Manor and raising her daughter, who is a kindergartner at Cridersville Elementary School.
The Soroptimist awarded Kohler a $500 award, and she will be receiving a $3,000 district award at the spring Soroptimist conference.
Kohler said she is very grateful for these awards, and she said she will use them toward her summer classes and fees.
“I will use the money for the summer quarter,” Kohler said. “That way I don’t have to take out a loan. This will definitely help me out a lot.”
She will also put the money toward gasoline, as some of her clinicals are as far as an hour drive away.
Kohler also is in the running for a top prize of $5,000 from the Soroptimist International.
Other award recipients were Lynnette Lininger, Diane Bender and Janis Wright, all of Auglaize County Visiting Nurses.
They received the Visiting Nurses Association award, which included a $300 donation from the club at the annual awards banquet.