Duluth winner passes on Botswana trip, so nominees will go
Joyce Benson's prize check is, as they say, in the mail. But it's the women who nominated Benson for the HBO contest based on the bestselling books by Alexander McCall Smith-turned-cable-TV-program -- "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" -- who h...
Joyce Benson's prize check is, as they say, in the mail.
But it's the women who nominated Benson for the HBO contest based on the bestselling books by Alexander McCall Smith-turned-cable-TV-program -- "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" -- who have won the bigger prize: a trip for two to Botswana, where the popular series is set.
The national contest, "Who's Your No. 1 Lady?" asked for the nomination of women who educate, inspire or empower women at home, work or within the community.
In March, Sally Munson, Gail Schoenfelder and Debbie Ortman submitted 300 words about Benson.
"Joyce has been an inspiration to so many of us in the League of Women voters and she's just been an incredible role model, for me in particular," Schoenfelder said. "I've just admired her dedication to international programs that foster relationships between people. It's those person-to-person contacts that really make a difference in making peace between countries."
The nomination letter mentioned Benson's five years on the Duluth City Council, 18 years as associate administrator of the Alworth Institute of International Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth, participation in the Third World Women's Conference in 1985, and her role as international chair of League of Women Voters Duluth. The contest called for women who are like McCall Smith's main character, Precious Romotswe, the first female private investigator in Botswana.
Benson was one of five winners of the contest and will receive a check for $1,000 in four to six weeks.
The nominators, however, earned themselves a trip to Botswana by picking a winner.
"I don't know how it happened that way," said Munger, who will make the trip with Schoenfelder sometime between November and March 2010.
Benson was, of course, a natural pick to take the trip. She opted out.
"I've been to Africa for the Third World's Women Conference," Benson said. "I just thought it would be a little more appropriate if they went. I'm getting the $1,000. I don't feel a great urge to go. It's going to be a rigorous trip for those two. It's a long flight and they'll keep you busy."