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Spirit of Women Awards

2015 Spirit of Women Award Nominations

Spirit of WomenAs a Spirit of Women hospital, each year we honor the unsung heroes in our community with Spirit of Women awards. The awards celebrate women who take action to make their communities healthier, safer and a more inspirational place to live.

Nominees are recognized in each of the three following categories:

  • Young Person Role Model (ages 14-20)
  • Community Hero (at least 21 years of age)
  • Health Care Hero (clinical professional)

Nominate a woman you know for a 2015 Spirit of Women Award. Nominations are due by March 6, 2015. Download the form below and mail it to the CentraCare Health Foundation upon completion.

Spirit of Women Awards Program and Application (PDF)

Winners are picked by a committee coordinated by St. Cloud Hospital and CentraCare Health Foundation. All winners receive recognition for their work and a $1,000 award to further their community commitment.

2014 Spirit of Women Awards

In 2014, the Spirit of Women Awards recognized:

Kholood Abuhadid - Young Person Role Model Kholood Abuhadid

Kholood Abuhadid learned the strong value of education and hard work from her parents who immigrated to the United States when Kholood was just 1 year old. Following in the footsteps of her older siblings who volunteered at St. Cloud Hospital, Kholood joined the Junior Volunteer Program, where she took an active role.

Kholood quickly advanced from junior volunteer to junior volunteer team lead and vice president of the Junior Volunteer Advisory Council. As a leader, Kholood’s service hours alone set her apart. Only one other active junior volunteer joins her in achieving more than 1,000 hours of service, and last year only five other volunteers out of more than 100 were recognized for exceeding 500 hours.

Kholood’s aspirations reflect her spirit to succeed and set her apart from other high school seniors. She plans to attend St. Cloud State University next year to pursue biomedicine and English. She hopes to move on to the University of Minnesota Medical School to become an OB-GYN.

Kholood shared, “I am proud of being where I am today. I refused to fall into my culture’s stereotypes. I am a female, and I have the opportunity to learn. The Middle Eastern culture sadly isn’t the most involved in the education and empowerment of women. That needs to change, and it is changing. And I am the one who needs to be another chapter. I am proud to serve my community and impact the lives of others."

Eve Wallinga - Community Hero Eve Wallinga

Instead of pursuing a career with her master's degrees in clinical psychology and business administration, Eve Wallinga chose to focus on her children and making the world a better place for all. She has been a Girl Scouts troop leader, a church youth group facilitator, a volunteer driver who ferries cancer patients to and from treatments and an environmental activist who pushed for successful adoption in 1998 of the City of St. Cloud’s Environmentally Sensitive Areas Ordinance, the first of its kind in the nation.

While Eve has been active in local and statewide issues for many years, her greatest contribution to women has come since 2006, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2010 she co-founded the Breastoration Foundation, which includes a fund under the auspices of the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans. The Foundation helps women access “the treatment that no one talks about.” She puts her boundless energy and her well-honed activist skills into raising awareness of and funds for helping women with breast reconstruction.

Eve conceived and helps organize the St. Cloud BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day, hosted annually in cooperation with Midsota Plastic Surgeons. The event features educational presentations and bras decorated by artists for display at St. Cloud businesses and venues. Eve also is part of the planning committee for the annual Surviving with Style fashion show/silent auction that raises money to provide wigs, reference library materials and financial assistance for breast cancer patients. She also wrote a book and blogs, using her many talants to help women deal with the harsh realities of breast cancer. 

Kara Hennes, OSB - Health Care HeroSr. Kara Hennes

Sister Kara Hennes is a dedicated member of the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict located in St. Joseph, Minn. and a registered nurse. The Sisters of St. Benedict began their service in St. Cloud in 1886, planting the seeds of compassion through the creation of St. Cloud Hospital.

Sister Kara worked at the hospital for 42 years in a variety of capacities, including staff nurse, director of nursing, vice president for nursing, vice president for patient care, St. Cloud Hospital board member and most recently on the executive team as chairman of the board of trustees. 

Sister Kara’s leadership created a foundation for the future of St. Cloud Hospital as illustrated early in her career when Sister Kara was director of nursing. She established a goal “to ensure the most qualified staff serve the patients, bringing decision making to the bedside.” This mindset founded by Sister Kara provided the strong nursing practice philosophy that St. Cloud Hospital’s Magnet® program was built upon. St. Cloud Hospital achieved its first Magnet® designation in 2004 and was recognized again in 2009 and 2013 for its continued excellence in nursing and patient care.

Sister Kara is a shining example of the core values of St. Cloud Hospital: collaboration, hospitality, respect, integrity, service and trusteeship. She lives the mission, dedicating her work to improving the lives of women each and every day.

Past Spirit of Women Award Winners

2013 Winners

  • Jenna Schyma - Young Person Role Model (Ages 14-20)
  • Debbie Erickson - Community Hero (At least 21 years of age)
  • Linda Koltes - Health Care Hero (Clinical professional)

2012 Winners

  • Jennifer Fleegel - Young Person Role Model (Ages 14-20)
  • Maxine Olson - Community Hero (At least 21 years of age)
  • Kathleen Rieke - Health Care Hero (Clinical professional)

2011 Winners

  • Briana Traut - Young Person Role Model
  • Brianda Cediel - Community Hero
  • Marilyn Peitso, MD - Health Care Hero

2010 Winners

  • Grace Balfanz - Young Person Role Model
  • Jacque French - Community Hero
  • Terri McCaffrey - Health Care Hero

2009 Winners

  • Kelsey Krueger – Young Person Role Model
  • Sandi Schulzetenberg – Community Hero
  • Dani Jakubowski – Health Care Hero


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