Ascension Borgess Allegan Hospital Awards Extraordinary Women in the Community

Saturday evening, Ascension Borgess Allegan Hospital and the AGH Foundation recognized three amazing women with its Spirit of Women Awards. 

“The Spirit of Women Awards were designed to celebrate the accomplishments, achievements, and “spirit” of girls and women in our region,” says Jennifer Dentler, AGH Spirit of Women Coordinator.  “It’s an awards program for the unsung heroine of everyday life, someone who has made a significant difference in the life of an individual or a community.  We received many wonderful nominations for each of the three categories and let me tell you we have a lot of exceptional ladies in the area.  It was not an easy decision for the committee.”

Young Person Role Model Award
The winner of the Young Person Role Model Award (ages 18 and under) was Allie Siegler of Allegan.   

“Allie truly cares about others and is always kind, setting a great example for others to follow,” said Margaret Brown, who nominated Allie for this award.  “Because of her efforts, people have been feed and eyes have been opened up to the needs of our community.”

For the past two years, Allie has volunteered on a weekly basis at the First Congregational Church of Allegan’s Congregational Kitchen helping to serve a free meal to those in need.  She has also organized a food drive and helped out with a local Backpack Meal Ministry, which helps children on reduced/free school meal plans by sending them home with food on the weekend.

Throughout her senior year Allie was a Peer Assistant Leader (PAL), helping to mentor first graders.  Becoming a PAL allowed Allie to combine her love for children, helping people, and wanting to become a psychologist.  Allie is currently attending Grand Valley State University and is studying Forensic Psychology.  When she is able, she still plans to help out at the Congregational Kitchen.  She is also hoping to join GVSU’s PAL program. 

Innovative Spirit Award
Glenda Knarian of Allegan was the recipient of the Innovative Spirit Award (ages 19 – 54).

Lori Cimino, a co-worker of Glenda at the Allegan Medical Clinic, is the one that nominated her for this award.  “When I heard about this award, the first person who came to my mind was Glenda,” said Lori.  “Glenda gives selflessly without being asked – many times in many ways.  And she always follows through to the fullest extent that she can.”

When Glenda sees a need, she does whatever she can to help. This includes rescuing animals, raising money for Relay for Life, coordinating a food drive to support local food pantries, assisting Hurricane Katrina victims by rebuilding homes or volunteering at First Church of God.

Glenda says what motivates her is that she feels she has been very blessed in life.  “Volunteering and giving back to the community is my way of paying it forward,” said Glenda. 

Inspired Spirit
Ruth Berkin was selected as the Inspired Spirit (ages 55+) award winner.  She is a lifelong resident of Allegan and was nominated by Rev. Karen Fitz La Barge, the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Allegan.

“Ruth inspires me by everything that she does and how she does it,” said Rev. La Barge.  “When she is involved in something, everyone is invited to come along and to be part of it.  She is such a hard worker with the most kind and generous heart.  She is always thinking about the other person, and what would be best for them.”

Ruth attributes first getting involved in the community through her church, First Presbyterian Church of Allegan.  She has been an active member at the church since she was about 14 years old.  Currently she is a deacon at church.  She is also the one who coordinates and schedules the greeters each Sunday.  She helps out with their free weekly community lunch program about twice a month and lends a hand in Sunday school each week.  

Ruth also calls on the sick and regularly visits those that aren’t able to get out.   Plus she has been active member of the Allegan Historical Society for the past 20 years volunteering to give tours at the old county jail and at the historical village located on the fairgrounds.

Click here to view photos from this event.

Ascension Borgess Allegan Hospital is a community hospital that focuses on providing exceptional, compassionate and personalized healthcare to the community it serves.  The hospital has been named two years in a row by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the nation’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare.  Allegan General provides a wide range of healthcare services, including bariatrics, surgery, sleep center, emergency, physical rehabilitation and mental health.  For more information about the hospital, visit

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