Meet Fellow Soroptimist Member
Name: Cheryl Harber
Family: I have one son, Steve, who is currently the night freight manager at Home Depot in Kalispell. He lives in Bigfork. I have one daughter, Jennie, a former SI Bigfork member, who is an insurance agent at Payne West Insurance in Bigfork. Both are college graduates – Steve from California State University, Northridge; and Jennie graduated from the University of Minnesota (with honors). My husband’s daughter Julie, is a retired Senior Navy Chief, and my grandson Dirk, is currently in the California National Guard. My husband passed away almost 6 years ago having succumbed to Alzheimer’s, after a nine year battle.
Occupation: (before retirement) In California I worked in the purchasing departments of several small military parts suppliers and eventually got my Certificate of Purchasing Management. We moved to Bigfork in 1990, where I opened my own sewing business – Nifty Needle. I was extremely busy and had the shop for 25 years. I still do some alterations, etc., from my home.
Background: I married my first husband in 1963, had two wonderful children, then divorced after 11 years. I worked in the military procurement field from 1975-1988, where I met my second husband Charlie. He was an avid chili cook, and I actually met him at the Balboa Bay Club in 1978, when his team won the California Chili Championship. Thus began many years of following the “Chili Circuit” in So. Cal, Nevada and AZ. He won several contests, and our team was “Ring of Fire Chili Company”. One of our special projects was producing a Chili Cook-off for a school in the San Fernando Valley for handicapped children. During the years we were involved, we raised about $250,000 for the children.
Following our move to Bigfork I became very active in the Bigfork Retail Merchants Committee of the Bigfork Chamber. During my participation I ran the summer farmer’s market, served as secretary, co-chaired the annual Bigfork Festival of the Arts, and the annual Christmas activities.
I am a member of the Bigfork Ladies Service Club, (formerly Bigfork Lady Lions), since 2000. I am on the core committee that organizes and operates the Huckleberry Shake booth at the Northwest Montana Fair every August.
I am a 50-year member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, and have belonged to 5 chapters, a charter member of two. I served in all the offices and committees several years and was Chairman of their Montana State Convention in 2000. I then served as the Montana State Chairman of Cottey College, which is owned by the Sisterhood.
How did you get involved in Soroptimists? The Bigfork Club was organized in 2003, and I attended several events, then became an official member in June of 2004.
Offices and Committees: I have served as club president, treasurer and secretary, and a general board member. I also served on most of the committees for awards and fundraisers, etc. I am currently the Northwest Region Live Your Dream Representative for District 4. In the Whitefish club I serve on the Trafficking Committee and the awards committees.
Why is the Soroptimist mission statement important in our society? I am very supportive of the SIA’s focus on the betterment of women and children’s conditions in our society! These young children are our future, and it’s so very important that they receive help with their educations. The Thrift Haus is a wonderful way to support the community and without it, our mission wouldn’t be as widespread.
Why are you a Soroptimist? I am passionate about the traffic awareness campaign, the Expanding Your Horizons conference, and am a board member of the new Flathead Steam Alliance, which is now the umbrella group that produces the annual EYH event. My membership is very important to me, and I value the friendships I’ve made with members in the Bigfork and Whitefish clubs.