|Kerrie Underhill is the 2012-13 ABWA Woman of the Year.|
Underhill is the 2012-13 ABWA Woman of the Year.
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Underhill named Yuma Business Woman of Year
Kerrie Underhill has been named the 2012-13 American Business Woman of the Year by the Yuma Territorial Chapter of the American Business Women's Association.
“I am shocked, and I am very honored and very blessed to have these people here that think so much of me and what I do to honor me this way,” she said after she was recognized by the Yuma chapter Tuesday evening.
“I just never expected this. Sometimes I feel like I don't have anything to offer anybody, and this just shows that I have made an impact.”
Underhill was chosen by a committee of past Yuma chapter women of the year recipients out of a group of candidates who are business professionals in the area, are involved in continuing education, and volunteer in the community.
Underhill is a Yuma native and graduate of Kofa High School. She has worked as a librarian's assistant, in special education, has owned her own business and has traveled the country with a group of Amish selling their handmade goods.
She currently works as a secretary for Wilbur-Ellis, an international marketer and distributor of agricultural products, animal feed and specialty chemicals and ingredients.
She has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) since 1999. CASA volunteers are appointed by a judge with the Yuma County Juvenile Justice Center to advocate in court for the safe, permanent future of abused, neglected and abandoned children.
“Growing up, my parents were foster parents, so we had a lot of foster kids in and out of our home, and to me they were like brothers and sisters,” Underhill said. “When I reached a certain age, a fellow CASA got me involved and it just clicked. You are dealing with abused and neglected children, and it is not their fault they are in the situation they are in.
“When you start working with these kids, they are like family. I treat them like my kids.”
Her work as a CASA is very much appreciated, said Dennis O'Rourke, CASA coordinator.
“She is just unbelievable. The passion and dedication she puts into the cases — I know that when she is on these cases, the children are getting the best.”
Underhill and her partner are “like lions and get out there and fight,” O'Rourke added.
“They fight for these children because they care so much about these kids and want to make sure these kids are placed in a safe, secure and permanent home. I know anytime I assign a case to Kerrie, she is going to fight, and fight, and fight to make sure those kids get what they deserve.”
For more about ABWA, visit www.abwa.org.
Chris McDaniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6849.