SHERIDAN — Erin Kilbride, director of the Tongue River Valley Community Center, was honored as Woman of the Year at the FAB Women’s Conference Saturday night.
The first-time conference, sponsored by The Sheridan Press, Sheridan College and several other community businesses and organizations, garnered 11 nominations for Woman of the Year. The caliber of women nominated was impressive, but Kilbride’s accomplishments and the challenges she has met, pushed her to the top with votes from the seven-member FAB planning committee.
Kilbride was nominated as Woman of the Year by Dennis Wagner, Jay McGinnis, Sue Belish and Bob Wood. In the nomination, Wagner noted “I, and almost all who work for and with Erin, are very impressed with her professionalism in dealings with our customers and vendors.”
As director of the center, Kilbride has overseen the expansion of the center from its first building in Ranchester, to a second building in Dayton in late 2009.
“Her heart is in it,” said TRVCC Vice President Gina Donnor. “That’s it, that’s what it comes down to. Most people work for a paycheck, but she does it for the growth of the center. She really enjoys it. The center wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for Erin.”
Donnor said Kilbride has successfully written several grants over the years that have significantly added to the program offerings at the center. She said Kilbride also is conscious of creating programs that include all age groups from young children to seniors.
“She constantly works to bring something in for everybody,” Donnor said. “It really covers every generation. And she has really become a part of the community. As a board, one of our main goals is to bring Dayton and Ranchester together as the Tongue River Valley and she has worked really hard to close that gap we’ve had.”
The center is now a hub of activity for Tongue River Valley residents. The two center locations host a variety of activities from daily senior lunches, regular blood draws and blood pressure checks, field trips, arts and crafts, card games, concerts and a slew of sports for adults and youth.
Kilbride arrived in Dayton with her family in 2006, after her husband Pete took a job as a counselor at Tongue River High School. She initially was a volunteer at the community center in Ranchester, teaching the Senior Stretch class, before assuming the role of director in June 2007.
Kilbride graduated from Natrona County High School in 1994, where she was an accomplished athlete, receiving the Milward Simpson Female Athlete of the Year.
She played basketball for Casper College and for Albertson College in Caldwell, Idaho, and later earned a degree in exercise and health science from the University of Wyoming.
Kilbride and her husband Pete have two young sons, Camden and Caleb.