Dobbs selected as Steel Magnolia Award honoree


MARQUETTE — Aurora Dobbs has been selected as the Marquette area’s Steel Magnolia Award honoree, the Middletown (Ohio) Community Foundation has announced.

The award honors women who have overcome obstacles to positively impact the community. The program is administered by the Middletown (Ohio) Community Foundation and funded by The Cleveland-Cliffs Foundation.

“The Cleveland-Cliffs Foundation is proud to sponsor the Steel Magnolia Awards to honor women who have overcome adversity to support others in their community,” said Patricia Persico, Director, Corporate Communications of Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. in a news release.

Traci Barnett, Middletown (Ohio) Community Foundation’s Executive Director, notes that judges traditionally have a very difficult decision in selecting recipients.

“As happens each year, our independent judges review public nominations of many outstanding women who have overcome adversity and have contributed immensely to their communities,” she said. “Each nominee is very deserving of recognition.”

Outside of her day job as a female mechanical engineer, Dobbs’ passion is Starts the Cycle. The organization provides bicycles, helmets, gloves, pants and hydration packs for participants to complete the Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic Race. When funding for Start the Cycle ceased in 2020, she didn’t give up. According to MacDonald, Aurora just worked harder.

Start the Cycle participants include young people identified through Child and Family Services, Juvenile Probation Court and area school counselors. With the pandemic making fundraising difficult, Dobbs was forced to make tough budgeting decisions to help facilitate a 2020 season. It was essential that the young people Start the Cycle serves had a chance to participate. “For some, quarantining at home is not safe,” says MacDonald. Knowing this, Dobbs was determined to take the necessary precautions to make practices happen and ultimately celebrate achievements via a virtual race.

MacDonald adds that Dobbs is more than worthy to receive this award because she has innovative solutions to complex problems and an unassuming manner and positive attitude.

Dobbs will receive $2,500 from The Cleveland-Cliffs Foundation for her charity of choice, Start the Cycle.

The Steel Magnolia Award honors women of all ages who face personal adversity and have shown exceptional strength, courage, compassion and leadership through their work in support of their communities. Nominations by essay were solicited from the public in 15 communities where Cleveland-Cliffs operates a facility. Nominees were required to live near a Cleveland-Cliffs facility. Nominators and nominees did not have to be associated in any way with employees of Cleveland-Cliffs. Nomination forms for the 2021 Steel Magnolia Awards will be available this summer.


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