Ruth Jurenko moved to Huntsville, Alabama in 1975, and since then has immersed herself in the community. Jurenko was a teacher for 20 years, but in 1988 she began her career as a full-time volunteer. Since then, Jurenko has been an officer and/or chairman of 36 committees and boards, including Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and Guild, Huntsville Museum of Art, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Constitution Village/Early Works, Hope Place, Interfaith Mission Service, Huntsville Botanical Garden, Huntsville/Madison County Library, Cedar Crest College and Grace Lutheran Church, where she founded the pre-kindergarten program.
Most notably, Jurenko served as president of AAUW at the local and state levels, as well as Southeast Central regional director. Here she concentrated on promoting education for girls and women, making it possible for them to excel in the workforce. For this service, the AAUW awarded her the Eve Award and a Fellowship Award. Jurenko has also received awards from Girls, Inc., and received the Girl Scout Scroll of Honor Award for Outstanding Volunteer. In addition, the Women’s Economic Development Council awarded her the Women Honoring Women Award.
Jurenko received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and the college awarded her an honorary doctoral degree in 2010.
As a former Girl Scout for seven years, Jurenko is determined to make a difference. In 1988 she lost sight in one eye. She says, “I thought I was through serving others, but I was proven wrong and could continue doing what I love.” Like her friend, Christine Richard, for whom this award is named, Jurenko has truly demonstrated a lifetime of achievement and service to her community and others.
Jurenko will be recognized at the North Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon on April 27. For more information, visit www.girlscoutsnca.org/wodnorth.