The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama honored UA social work alumnae Madeleine Hill and Lillie Leatherwood at the 2017 Women of Distinction Awards Luncheon in March for being exemplary role models for today’s girls and positively impacting their communities.

Hill and Leatherwood were honored as one of 12 Women of Distinction. Hill, a community activist and founder of Tuscaloosa’s One Place Board of Directors, received the Karen LaMaoreaux Bryan Lifetime Achievement Award. Leatherwood, an Olympic medalist and director of the Tuscaloosa Athletic Police League, was recognized as a 2017 Woman of Distinction.

Hill has a degree from Huntingdon College and a Master’s in Policy and Planning from The University of Alabama’s School of Social Work. She has served as a consultant to United Way of West Alabama as well as Tuscaloosa City Schools, and her proudest accomplishment is establishing Hospice of West Alabama, one of the first hospices in the state. She also served as the Executive Director of West Alabama AIDS Outreach.

Hill was the founding President of the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity as well as a founding member of Tuscaloosa’s One Place Board of Directors. She was named a Pillar of West Alabama by the Community Foundation of West Alabama, and she received the Howard Gundy Award for Exceptional Service to the School of Social work by the University of Alabama.”

Leatherwood is the director of the Tuscaloosa Police Athletic League (PAL). In a 2010 she was profiled in a story by the Alabama NewsCenter, an Alabama Power publication that highlights the stories of people and businesses powering the state. According Leatherwood’s feature, she joined the Tuscaloosa police force in 1993. She was assigned to her dream job at PAL two years later and rose to director in 2012. This juvenile-crime prevention program provides children, ages 6-18, with after-school activities such as tutoring, bowling, skating and volleyball.

With her talent as a sprinter, Leatherwood received a four-year track scholarship to the University of Alabama. As a sophomore at Alabama, Leatherwood qualified for the Olympic trials and finished third in the nation. That victory secured a spot on the U.S. 4×400-meter relay team headed for the games in Los Angeles. During this event a team of four sprinters in turn run a leg of the race.

Leatherwood won many other national and international titles while at the university and as a professional athlete. She won the 400-meter dash in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in 1985 and again in 1986. Her time of 53.12 seconds at the 1986 championships marked an indoor collegiate record. She took medals at two World Championships in the 4×400-meter relay. Leatherwood got the bronze in the championships in Rome in 1987 and the silver in Tokyo in 1991.

She also has received the 2015 Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award from the University of Alabama.

About the Women of Distinction Awards

Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama hosted the 2017 Central Alabama Women of Distinction Awards Luncheon March 9 at the Harbert Center in Birmingham. During the event, Girl Scouts also celebrated 105 years of Girl Scouting.

The Women of Distinction Awards program is the premier event for Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama. First celebrated in 1976, each awards program honors local women who have made significant contributions in their professions and communities.

Proceeds from Women of Distinction luncheons help to provide low income and underserved girls in local communities the same access to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience as girls in traditional troops. Financial support from the event also directly supports the Girl Scouts’ mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.

There are more than 9,000 girl members in Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama. Through events like the Women of Distinction Awards, the organization seeks to develop leadership, decision-making skills and commitment to community in today’s generation of girls.