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Women's Club hails Byers as leading lady

September 19, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN - A woman of Discovery was honored Monday by the Hagers-town Business & Professional Women's Club.

The club named B. Marie Byers of Hagerstown - the director and president of the board of Discovery Station, a nonprofit interactive museum - its 2006 Woman of the Year.

Sandy Mills, the club's Woman of the Year chair, said the group annually chooses a woman who has contributed plenty to the community.

Club members on Monday cited Byers' long-standing devotion to public education.

Byers was an early childhood specialist and elementary school teacher in Washington County for 36 years, according to a summary the club prepared.

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She served on the Washington County Board of Education for 30 years.

The summary noted several other local, state and federal contributions to education.

"Her passion is the education of the community," Mills said.

Donna Smith, the club's membership chair, said Byers has a range of community involvements.

The summary mentioned the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Hagerstown Lioness Club, St. John's Lutheran Church, Brownies and Girl Scouts, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and other organizations.

The Hagerstown Business & Professional Women's Club has honored a Woman of the Year annually since 1972. Some of the past winners were at Monday's award dinner at the Perkins restaurant at the Grand Venice Hotel on Dual Highway.

Atlee C. Kepler was there, too.

During a phone interview afterward, Byers said Kepler was her guidance counselor while she was a student at Hagerstown High School.

In later years, Kepler was president of Hagerstown Junior College (now Hagerstown Community College) when Byers served on the board of trustees.

Byers said she will continue to work at the museum even after it has the money to hire a permanent executive director.

Byers said she didn't expect the fanfare that was part of getting the award.

"I guess it recognizes achievement of purpose, of focusing on - how should I say this - focusing on making things better for the community," she said. "It's really a community service award. My business has been education."

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