OSWEGO, NY – 2015 marks the 31st year the Zonta Club of Oswego has presented the Amelia Earhart Woman of Achievement Award to a woman who has dedicated herself to making a difference in her community and serving as a positive role model to other women.
Amelia Earhart was a strong supporter for the advancement of women and a charter member of Zonta International before she made history flying across the Atlantic Ocean.
On September 25, Julie Chetney will receive the honor at the 31st Amelia Earhart Dinner to be held at The American Foundry in Oswego.
To be selected for this award, the Zonta Club receives letters of recommendations from the community.
“When choosing the recipient of the Amelia Earhart Woman of Achievement Award we look for someone who has made selfless contributions to the community and whose effort make people’s lives better, stronger and more meaningful,” said Tammy Thompson, president, Zonta Club of Oswego.
Chetney’s colleagues noted her kindness and modesty in both her professional and personal life.
She epitomizes the essence of Zonta, she is respectful of all, promotes universal respect and goodwill, supports both her family and work communities via her volunteering, advocacy and dedication, and by her very nature and presentation, promotes the professional status of women reflecting the life of Amelia Earhart, who by example encouraged women to explore and hold professions that were not traditionally held by women.
Chetney began at St. Luke Health Services in 1996 as volunteer coordinator.
This seemed to be a perfect fit with her own volunteer service history throughout her college years at SUNY Oswego giving her firsthand experience of how to work with and support the efforts of others who share their time giving back to the community.
It was very quickly that she found her role at St. Luke more than a 9-5 job.
It was early on that St. Luke became her home away from home; a second family.
Naturally less than one year after joining the St. Luke team, the residents of St. Luke welcomed Julie and her wedding party arriving in a limo on the day of her wedding to her soon-to-be husband Brian at the entrance of the healthcare facility.
“Sharing in this day with my new family at St. Luke was exactly what I thought anyone would do on their wedding day,” Chetney explained. “That day was as important to me as it was to my family at St. Luke.”
Over the next 18 years, Chetney said, “work never felt like work.”
She and her husband welcomed four children, as did the extended family on the St. Luke campus who was as excited about her growing family as she was.
Working closely to open the doors at Bishop’s Commons Enriched Living Residence, Chetney worked tirelessly to make the program succeed and serve seniors in the community.
Staying committed to her family on the healthcare campus was a priority always even as her family at home grew.
After the birth of her first three children, the disabilities of second child put her on a path that while not a personal choice, a life-long challenge where she found herself at meetings, on boards, and at events that still have an impact on the community today.
With a child diagnosed with Autism and Type 1 diabetes in the same year, advocacy and leadership was needed and Chetney answered the call in the Oswego community.
She was a founding member of the Oswego County Autism Taskforce, who later became president of the not-for-profit with a mission to improve the lives of those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Chetney saw the need for support for families in Oswego County and worked for years to bring the OCATF to the forefront in Oswego County as a resource for all families touched by Autism.
During this time she also found herself at the table of another organization helping families with children with special needs.
It was at Parents of Special Children Inc. where she served on their board of directors for 10 years, helping the organization to serve as many families as possible in Oswego County.
Other community involvement includes Girls Scouts of USA, leader for seven years, Kingsford Park School Home and School Co-President for six years, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation community advocate, Oswego Youth Soccer Association volunteer, and Oswego Buccaneer Booster Executive Board member.
Chetney was the recipient of the 2006 “40 under 40 Award,” a 2008 Local Healthcare Hero Honorable Mention, the 2012 Friend in Autism Award, and was named the 2014 Professional of the Year by Leading Age.
She is an Oswego native.
She attended Oswego schools and is a graduate of SUNY Oswego.
Chetney is currently the director of St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Program at St. Luke.
She resides in Oswego with her husband, Brian, and four children: Claudia, Jake, Alex and Nate.