Author and Photographer: Jan Touney
Members of the Downtown Bettendorf Business Women recently presented the organization’s first scholarship in memory of former Bettendorf Alderman Debe LaMar to Emma Gustafson of Bettendorf. Pictured, from left, are Leann Themas, Tango Salon; Denice Enfield, City of Bettendorf; Nicole Murphy, Tango Salon; Emma Gustafson; Kerri Pruitt, M&M Golf Cars; Kristin Frymoyer, Frymoyer Stone Fabrication & Supply; Diane Conner, K&K True Value Hardware; Olga Loghinovici, WITHIN by CDI; Rebecca Wiley, Iowa Masonic and William Bettendorf Mansion; and Cari Henson, 5o2 Creative. Not pictured are Pat Beréskin, Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy, Michelle Blunk, WITHIN by CDI, Terri Brown, Bettendorf Business Network; and Debbie Hereau, Concept Bath Systems, Inc.
Residents of The Bridges Lofts in Bettendorf are invited to a meet and greet with downtown businesses on Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 4:30-7 p.m. in the first-floor community room at the apartment complex at 1501 State St.
There will be free food and drinks, giveaways and deals from individual businesses, and a chance to win an iPad.
The event is organized by the Downtown Bettendorf Business Women. Sponsoring businesses include Ascentra Credit Union, Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy, K&K True Value Hardware, Quad-City Pizza Co., Sports Fans Pizza, Tango Salon, WITHIN – Residential Design Studio, and 5o2 Creative – Graphic Design Services.
The group was founded several years ago in an effort to bring attention to the variety of businesses and services that are located downtown.
In 2018, they raised more than $7,000 by assembling and selling a Christmas ornament featuring a miniature copy of an original artwork of the Interstate 74 Bridge. Proceeds from the sale went to benefit the Jefferson/Lourdes Neighborhood Christmas Project, The Greater Bettendorf Community Fund to support The Agape Center’s Christmas stocking drive, Bettendorf Angel Network, and STEAM on Wheels.
The organization also established an annual scholarship in memory of former Bettendorf Alderman Debe LaMar, who passed away in 2018.
Last month, the organization presented its first $500 scholarship to Emma Gustafson of Bettendorf.
Emma, a senior who is homeschooled through American High School (online) and enrolled at Bettendorf High School for orchestra, plans to attend Scott Community College for two years and then transfer to a university, possibly to pursue a double major in costume design and math.
“I do have a strong passion for art,” she said. “I have been drawing, painting and crafting ever since I was little. I really appreciate everything that the women’s group has done for me, and am so honored to be the first recipient.”
The Downtown Bettendorf Business Women is planning another Christmas ornament fund-raiser. Look for information on that project in the coming weeks. It also will feature original artwork of the I-74 Bridge.