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Leavenworth Mission founder receives Athena Award

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Rosalee Robinson, president of the Women's Division of the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce, presents the 2020 Athena Award to Iris Arnold, founder of the Leavenworth Mission Community Store and Food Pantry.

The founder of a local food pantry has been recognized with this year’s Athena Award from the Women’s Division of the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce.

Iris Arnold, president of the Leavenworth Mission Community Store and Food Pantry, was presented the award last week.

“It’s such a huge honor because that award carries a lot of weight,” Arnold said.

The Athena Award serves as a local business woman of the year honor.

The award recognizes women who have achieved the highest level of professional experience, contribute time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community and actively assists others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential, according to Rosalee Robinson, president of the Women’s Division of the Leavenworth Lansing Chamber of Commerce.

Arnold founded the Leavenworth Mission Community Store and Food Pantry 10 years ago.

The Leavenworth Mission distributes food to those in need at its pantry location at 1140 Spruce St. as well as at mobile sites. The Leavenworth Mission also operates a thrift shop.

“Iris found a way to fulfill her lifelong passion of serving people and community as the founder the local nonprofit Leavenworth Mission, Inc.,” Whitney Moulden wrote in a letter to nominate Arnold for the award.

Moulden wrote that “Arnold is more than deserving of being the recipient of the 2020 Athena Award and the greatest amount of respect any one community can bestow on any one of our citizens.”

Moulden was one of two people to nominate Arnold for the Athena Award.

Arnold is the 35th recipient of the annual award from the Women’s Division of the chamber.

As with many other activities, the presentation of the Athena Award was modified this year because of COVID-19.

In the past, the award has been presented during an annual luncheon. But the luncheon did not take place this year. Instead, representatives of the Women’s Division surprised Arnold with the award Wednesday at the Leavenworth Mission.

Video of the presentation was posted last week on the Facebook page for the Women’s Division.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR