Home Latest Stories Four “Women of Wonder” Celebrated in Ocean City

Four “Women of Wonder” Celebrated in Ocean City

At 100 in 2021, Retired Marine Sgt. Doie Barnes, is selected as a Women of Wonder.


This year, there were not three, but four, “Women of Wonder” recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions to their communities.

For Doris E. “Doie” Barnes, a 100-year-old retired Marine sergeant from Ocean City, she was celebrated with a special “Veterans Salute” for giving so much for her country.

Barnes sat among friends from Ocean City’s American Legion Post 524 and loved ones during a luncheon at the Flanders Hotel on Wednesday.

The other award recipients were Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Chase Jackson, director of the Ocean City Arts Center, and Marilyn Miller, director of the Sam S. DeVico Middle Township Senior Center.

Typically, there are three Women of Wonder awardees, but this year the list was expanded to four by the event’s organizers. Barnes, a World War II veteran, was singled out for special honors.

“There are a lot of people in the world that do many things and don’t ask to be recognized,” said Cape May County Commissioner E. Marie Hayes, who also served as event emcee. “I have the honor of introducing someone who is very special to Ocean City. Doie is 100 years old and is an Ocean City icon. I think we can all agree that Doie is a true, genuine American. Plus, Doie was one of – if not – the first to break through the glass ceiling.”

State Assemblyman Antwan McClellan praises the award recipients.

More than 220 attendees joined the honorees for the event. The award, a blue star, was given out by the Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation and the Cape May County Women’s Commission, headed by chair Violet Rixey and vice chair Jacqueline Simonson, to each of the honorees.

In addition, Barnes received a basket fittingly decorated with patriotic red, white and blue wrapping.

Barnes’ service included managing and distributing secret and confidential technical documents for U.S. military officers in the 1940s, carrying the files in a briefcase handcuffed to her.

Women of Wonder raises funds for at-risk high school students in Cape May County to attend Atlantic Cape Community College and become future community leaders.

Before Gillian accepted her award, Hayes also said a few words about her friend, who she called a “perpetual volunteer” and someone who “leads this town.”

“Through her leadership, Ocean City is known as America’s Greatest Family Resort,” Hayes said. “There are people who come into your life who impress you. This woman has really impressed me.”

Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, receives flowers from her husband, Mayor Jay Gillian, after she spoke about her award.

Before Gillian accepted the award, she said a few words.

“It is truly an honor to accept this award. I’m so proud to be honored with Sgt. Doie Barnes,” she said, and then turned to Barnes and thanked her for her service.

She noted that she owes her success to the support of her husband, Mayor Jay Gillian, her family, friends and her late mother, who gave her strength and inspiration. She also thanked the Chamber of Commerce.

Gillian noted that the honor also stands for helping mothers and young people achieve their goal of going to college. She spoke of the notable people in history who received part of their education at a community college.

“Some of our best and brightest began at community colleges,” she said. “We are here today to open doors and provide opportunities.”

During the ceremony, state Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, of Ocean City, presented a state proclamation to the honorees and said that “their achievements are great.”

Chase Jackson says the award validates her passion for the arts.

Woman of Wonder Chase Jackson told the crowd that the recognition is humbling.

“Art is my passion. That is why I am here in Ocean City today. This award validates all that I have done,” she said.

Marilyn Miller said the award means a lot to her.

“I’m grateful for representing our senior community,” she said. “I want to thank everyone for their support.”

On behalf of the program, the Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation presented a $17,000 gift to go toward scholarships.

More than 220 people attend the event.