Search
Close this search box.

Meet the nine women to be inducted into 2022 Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame

The Okaloosa County Commission on the State of Women has announced the nine local women who will be inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame for 2022. 125 women have […]

The Okaloosa County Commission on the State of Women has announced the nine local women who will be inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame for 2022.

  • 125 women have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since it was created in 1995. 

The Hall of Fame was created to honor women of Okaloosa County — past and present — whose contributions have been of great value to our community’s development. Induction into the Hall of Fame is the Commission’s oldest and most prestigious award.

The 2022 Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at 6:00 pm on Monday, August 22 at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center.

Ted Corcoran from the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce will emcee the event, and Ken Nielson from Crestview Community TV will be there to film the event and livestream it on the Crestview TV Facebook page.

Here are the nine women being inducted this year:

Gloria Frazier, Business Leader Inductee

Gloria Frazier, ERA American Real Estate

Gloria Frazier has been the broker of ERA American Real Estate since 1981, when she founded the company. She plans and oversees the staff of 110 agents, 34 employees, and they manage 1,000 properties.

Gloria has been actively involved with the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, MLS Corporation, all area Chambers of Commerce, One Okaloosa (formerly the Economic Development Council) and the Building Industry Association.

There is a long list of non-profits where she has served on the board and as president. She was the 1992 Queen of Hearts for AMA and sponsors a NWFSC scholarship and endowment.

  • “Gloria is the one who desires to make a positive difference in the lives of our Okaloosa County constituents,” said Devin Stephenson, NWFSC President. “She is a humble, loving and caring individual who desires to see others succeed. Gloria is a giver and there are no greater givers than those who give of themselves.”

Gloria Battle, Community Service Inductee

Gloria Battle

A Texas girl, Gloria Battle moved to Fort Walton Beach in 1972 where she got civically involved and became a leader. After joining both the FWB Hospital Auxiliary and the local America Heart Association, she became president of each organization and subsequently, elected chair of each state organization.

In 1982, as a FWB City Councilwoman, she spearheaded the purchase of The Landing in Downtown. Filling in for an ailing mayor, Gloria served as Mayor Pro Tem for six months.

Helping the homeless, Gloria’s leadership was instrumental with the St. Simon’s Church program, the Cold Night Shelter Program, One Hopeful Place, as well as Opportunity Place, where she was on the initial Board of Directors. She was also on the Board for Guardian Ad Litem and the Continuum of Care.

She has been president of: the Fort Walton Beach Woman’s Club, the FWB League of Women’s Voters and the Democratic Women’s Club where she was named a Lifetime Member.  At age 90, the Democratic Women’s Club was honored to nominate Gloria Battle – still a leader in the FWB community.

Dr. Elvira Chiccarelli, DDS, Professional Leader Inductee

Dr. Elvira Chiccarelli

Dr. Chiccarelli retired from Air Force active and reserve duty. She deployed several times on humanitarian missions resulting in her 1989 Air Force Reserve Dentist Award.      

She has a long history of service to Okaloosa, helping to start a county dental clinic with used dental chairs from Eglin Air Force Base. She also provided dental care there for Okaloosa residents as well as Vietnamese and Polish refugees.

She had a private office in the area for 32 years and was a USA Certified Swim coach and official for 10 years. For relaxation, she played the violin with the symphony and sang with choirs at area churches. She worked as the full time clinic dentist at the Gulf Coast Dental program and has worked most recently at NWFSC Dental program.   

Stacey Darhower, Contemporary Inductee  

Stacey Darhower

Stacey Darhower graduated from Niceville High School, and went on to get her Bachelor’s Degree from UWF in Legal Administration and later her Masters in Acquisition Management. 

She excelled in leadership and acquisitions becoming the first woman GS-15, Chief of Contracting at AFRL Munitions Directorate, and now is Director of Contracting for Air Force Test Center Eglin AFB with a $9B portfolio.  

She received the prestigious Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, one of only 6 women that holds this honor, and the David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award. Her dedication led to 824 contracts to local businesses resulting in mutual growth on base and Okaloosa County’s economy, while increasing her civilian positions at Eglin by 33%. 

Her innovative agreements increased STEM at Doolittle Institute, Emerald Coast Science Center, Okaloosa Schools and the HSU Foundation.  She mentors women in contracting and volunteers with local athletics, and community partnership initiatives. Her distinguished career leaves a legacy at DOD and Okaloosa County.    

Sybil Smith Lebherz, Posthumous Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Inductee

Sybil Smith Lebherz

Sybil Smith Lebherz was a long-time resident of Mary Esther. She made numerous, significant donations “behind the scenes” including:

  • Scholarships helping students attend her alma mater of Huntingdon College in Montgomery
  • Supporting local dancers in acquiring additional professional training
  • Efforts to address the needs of homeless women with children

Before she established a charitable trust, known as the Sybil Smith Foundation, her generosity extended to many early local projects for youth, including the Fort Walton Beach YMCA, Florida Sheriff’s Youth Fund, the Fort Walton Beach Ballet Association (now Northwest Florida Ballet) and Mary Esther United Methodist Church.

Her name can be found on numerous facilities that she helped to fund and programs that continue to have an active impact today, including:

  • The Sybil Smith Lebherz Center for Dance Education at the Northwest Florida Ballet
  • The renovations done on the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce building.
  • The Sybil Smith Lebherz Aquatic Center, the original pool at the Fort Walton Beach YMCA.

Her impact and legacy in Okaloosa County lives on today through grants from the Sybil Smith Foundation. 

Dolores Noechel, Education Inductee

Dolores Noechel

Dolores Noechel’s parents instilled in her the love of education and the importance of community involvement. Her father, John Shortall, was the Mayor of Fort Walton Beach and her mother, Valerie Shortall, owned Valerie’s of Fort Walton Beach.

Dolores was a math teacher at Ruckel Middle School, where she was the Teacher of the Year twice and a finalist for Okaloosa County’s Teacher of the Year. Other awards include:

  • 7x Statewide Winner of the Florida Stock Market Simulation
  • First Place Winner in the National Middle School Association Team Teaching Awards
  • Florida Stock Market Game’s Distinguished Advisor of the Year

Dolores became the District Instructional Technology and Media Services Specialist and later the Assistant Principal at Fort Walton Beach High School.

Her community involvement includes:

  • Okaloosa County Public Schools Foundation Board Member
  • Leadership Council Member for Take Stock in Children
  • Take Stock in Children Mentor for 12 years
  • P.E.O.
  • A.D.K.
  • St. Mary’s Council of Catholic Women
  • Impact 100 Education Committee Co-Chair
  • Board Member for Center for Lifelong Learning
  • Teacher Education Adjunct for Northwest Florida State College

Julie Porterfield, Carolyn Spencer Humanitarian Inductee

Julie Porterfield

Julie Porterfield has a limitless heart when it comes to serving the welfare of our most vulnerable children in our community.  After earning her bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of West Florida, she worked with the State’s Attorney’s office for 17 years as a victim advocate and administrator. 

In 1999, she became the founding CEO of the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC). The ECCAC provides services at no cost for young victims of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, and they provide mental health therapy for these children, as well as their families. They also offer Safety Matters & Teen Safety Matters, crucial preventive programs in our area schools. 

She has served as the president of the board of directors of the Florida Network of 17 Children’s Advocacy Centers throughout Florida and volunteered as a board member on local, state, and national levels with the National Children’s Alliance, Florida’s Governor Council for Prevention and Permanency, and Shelter House. 

Her commitment to our community is to work towards an end to child abuse and neglect, while protecting children by restoring the lives and futures of these young victims in our area. 

Col. Jocelyn Schermerhorn, Military Inductee 

Col. Jocelyn Schermerhorn

Colonel Jocelyn Schermerhorn is currently the Air Force Special Operations Command Director of Operations. She is responsible for implementing and directing operational command policy for AFSOC’s worldwide special operations units including more than 20,000 personnel, approximately 300 aircraft and $17 billion in assets.

Colonel Schermerhorn entered the Air Force in 1995 as a distinguished graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Colorado State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. She earned her wings as a distinguished graduate of navigator training at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and also holds Master of Business Administration and Master of Strategic Studies degrees.

  • She has served as an evaluator navigator in the C-130E and MC-130H, a U-28A combat systems officer and has commanded at various levels.

Colonel Schermerhorn has called Okaloosa County home since her first assignment here in 2003 and is proud to have served as commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing and installation commander for Hurlburt Field from June 2020-June 2022.

Cissy Wyninegar, Pioneer Inductee

Cissy Wyininegar

Catherine “Cissy” Wyninegar grew up in Fort Walton Beach, the child of the Bass, Staff, and Gerlach pioneer families.

Cissy served on the Fort Walton Beach City Council and became a certified Florida Supreme Court Mediator to aid local residents. She was the principal of St. Mary’s and Assistant Principal of Pryor Middle School.

  • Cissy also joined Fort Walton Beach Woman’s Club, founded by her great-aunts, where she served as President for two terms. During her time as President, she coordinated the Bud and Dorie Day Patriot Trail, a walking trail and family park at Ferry Park.

She led and conceived the idea for “Safe, Secure, Successful“, which aids homeless children in 9 schools by partnering with Goodwill, American Legion Post 235 Riders, and the Elks Lodge 1795.

Under her leadership, the “Home of the Brave” wall was dedicated to honoring fallen military students from Choctawhatchee High School. To preserve local history, the Gulfview Hotel was donated and moved from Staff property to become the Fort Walton Beach Welcome Center in Downtown Fort Walton Beach.

Cissy was raised to think of others first. Her pioneer ancestors saw the need to improve and build and Cissy has continued that pioneer spirit in a modern time, uplifting and improving her hometown and County. Her pioneer spirit shines in all she does.

The Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame Ceremony

The Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame is sponsored by the OCCSW and the annual induction ceremony is held in conjunction with Women’s Equality Day. 

The women inducted into the Hall of Fame are honored in permanent displays at the Okaloosa County Administration Annex, the Crestview Court House and the Niceville City Council Chambers.

“The Hall of Fame displays are a monument to some of the exceptional women in our county’s history, as well as a tribute that grows annually with each induction ceremony where we learn to appreciate more about the wonderful contributions that women make to our community,” wrote the OCCSW in a statement.

The 2022 Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at 6:00 pm on Monday, August 22 at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center.

For more information, and to see the past winners, visit the website at www.occsw.com. 

Join the conversation...

Continue reading 👇

Community Comments

“1B................Let FWB grow.”
Respond
“Amazing article!!! Jared Williams is an incredible writer and this article captures the incredible things happening in our community! Thank you Jared! Linda Dugan”
Respond
“Awesome... The kind of people, that need a safe, affordable home for themselves and their families, without your judgment. .”
Respond
“Curious who is funding Gregg Chapel so he can build cheap housing here. Curious what kind of residents he looking for to move here.”
Respond
“This is extremely upsetting. I hope the parents of this young man sees this as a " Cry for Help" and move forward in getting him evaluated., into counseling with...”
Respond
“Will the Hurlburt golf course be open?”
Respond
“I really think this is a great idea. My only concern is what is planned at the base of the Destin bridge. I am not a proponent of any development...”
Respond
“Traffic signals have a definite limit to how many cars an hour can pass under them. The signal system downtown has been beyond capacity since 1990. To increase capacity additional...”
Respond