Ruth Bruner is a beacon of light and staunch feminist, according to her sons.
Bruner was recognized Tuesday by the Girls Scouts of Historic Georgia as the 2015 Woman of Distinction.
“I can’t think of a more deserving person for this award than Ruth,” said Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan. “We’ve served together for about eight years in the City Council, and I have come to admire and appreciate her. We work very well together.”
Bruner is the Ward 5 councilwoman for the city of Gainesville. She served on the Gainesville City Board of Education from 1991-2000 before joining the council in 2003. She also served as mayor for two years, from 2010-2011.
Before entering politics, Bruner worked as a caseworker for the Fulton County Division of Family and Children Services, as a psychiatric social worker and as a hospital social worker. She owned and managed Nursing Care Inc., the first licensed private duty agency in the state.
“The Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction Award honors a woman who reflects the values in the Girl Scout promise, which states, ‘I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly, helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong,’” said Dunagan, who passed a proclamation declaring March 10, 2015, as Ruth Bruner Day.
The Girl Scouts honored Bruner with a luncheon at her home church, Gainesville First United Methodist. Girl Scout Olivia Smith served as the mistress of ceremonies. She and Dunagan credited Bruner for the example she sets for young women today.
“Today’s Woman of Distinction and those of the past are women who provide inspiration to help cultivate the environment necessary for girls to recognize their goals,” Smith said. “They are role models for me and others to be the best we can be in the community.”
Bruner’s sons, Marshall Bruner and David Bruner, gave a surprise address in her honor.
“When your mother is a woman of distinction, you learn the importance of sharing,” Marshall Bruner said. “I learned about sharing when we went to Lakeshore Mall when I was young, probably elementary age.”
Marshall Bruner said while at the mall, a young boy approached them and gave his mother a hug. He later learned the boy was a patient his mother had helped during her time as a clinical social worker for mental health.
“I remember thinking I would have to share her with other kids ...” he said. “But it was also the first time I remember thinking about what it would be like to help people with their feelings. This is something important my mother shared with me that eventually helped shape my career path.”
Ruth Bruner expressed her gratitude to her sons and the nominating committee, on which she previously served.
“I am just so honored and humbled by being chosen the Woman of Distinction this year,” she said. “I want to thank first of all the Girl Scouts, because they have brought us this event for 17 years, and it’s been wonderful.”
David Bruner said he holds his mother in the highest esteem and truly believes she is a woman of distinction.
“Ruth is a beacon of light, a staunch feminist and a proud Democrat,” David Bruner said. “She has been a positive force in the lives of many people. She has made a difference, and she’s not done yet. There aren’t many Ruth Bruners in the world, and it is my great privilege to be her son.”