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Event to honor city’s trailblazing women
Divas on Broadway
The 2019 Divas on Broadway luncheon will focus on four female trailblazers: Kristin Bettencourt, Tina Yonan, Linda Murphy-Lopes and Marianne Oates.

The bright bulbs of the stage pale in comparison to the four Turlock trailblazers set to be honored next month at the third annual Divas on Broadway event, which will donate to a charitable cause while celebrating the city’s most influential women.

“Our purpose is to honor four women who do really incredible things in our community that help everyone,” event chairperson Lana Rojas Casey said. “By honoring these ladies who positively affect people every day, we feel like that empowers other women to emulate that.”

The event kicked off in 2017 as a way to recognize women in the community who go above and beyond when it comes to service through a luncheon and fashion show. Catered by The Udder Place, the luncheon will feature a raffle and live auction, with all proceeds benefiting The Salvation Army.

The event will get started with a champagne welcome, where some of Turlock’s finest male “celebrities” will greet guests in Divas on Broadway aprons. Wine and cheese will also be served during this time, and the luncheon will focus on four female trailblazers: Kristin Bettencourt, Tina Yonan, Linda Murphy-Lopes and Marianne Oates.

Bettencourt is the “face of Turlock,” Casey said.

“Where does the list begin,” she said. “I can’t think of anything that she’s not involved with in Turlock in some way. If she sees something that needs to be done, she just gets in and does it.”

From Dancing with the Turlock Stars to Relay for Life, Bettencourt is involved in all things charity and has helped to raise over one million dollars for the Turlock community. Bettencourt is also involved with The Salvation Army, helping plan their Kettle Kick Off annually, the Arrowhead Club and the Kayla Bernardi BEE Positive Fun Run and countless other organizations, touching many Turlock lives in a positive way.

Also to be honored is Tina Yonan, who often donates flowers to charitable events around town and is known for her work with various organizations like the Assyrian Aid Society, Hospice Christmas programs, Bet Nahrain Radio, Assyrian American Civic Club, Letters to Santa and the THS Band Booster Club.

“You can go to any fundraiser in town and you’ll see her flowers everywhere, even if she couldn’t make it herself,” Casey said.

Retired Sacred Heart Elementary School principal Murphy-Lopes will be honored as well. As one of the founding members of Turlock Together, Murphy-Lopes has made it her mission to ensure a quality life for every resident in the city. She also volunteers with the Can Tree Breakfast, ACT shopping for children and numerous other activities, Casey said.

“What I like about Linda, and what I think everyone does, is that Linda doesn’t just say, ‘okay, I see these families in need,’ but she actually goes out to their homes and connects with them individually.”

Lastly, Oats will be honored at Divas on Broadway for her lifetime of service to Turlock. Oats is involved with League of Mercy, a group that visits senior care facilities and rehab centers ministering through music and she is a founding member of the Women’s Auxiliary. Most recently, she has been recognized as Volunteer of the Year for The Salvation Army Kettle Kick Off.

“She’s just phenomenal,” Casey said. “You hope at 85 you can still do some of the things she does.”

In addition to recognizing the city’s female heroes, Divas on Broadway will also provide a look at female clothing trends thanks to styles from local boutiques that will all be on display during the event’s fashion show. Casey hopes that the event will be empowering not just for women, but for all in attendance.

“We honor four ordinary women, but they do extraordinary things for our community and we benefit from it. Everybody does,” Casey said.

Divas on Broadway will be held at noon March 2 at the Carnegie Arts Center, 250 N. Broadway Ave. Individual tickets for the event are $45, and tables at the luncheon may also be purchased. To purchase tickets, contact The Salvation Army at 209-667-6091.