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    Athena sculpture unveiled in Great Falls


    In the video above, James Rolin reports on the Athena sculpture dedication at West Bank Park in Great Falls on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

    Here is a news release from the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce:

    The ATHENAs of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce welcome Molly Beck as the 2023 recipient of the ATHENA Award.

    This award honors women who strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishment, excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and forge paths of leadership for other women to follow. Through her labors as a speech therapist, parent, and community activist, Molly Beck characterizes all that the ATHENA Award represents.

    Beck grew up in Lewistown, but she has deep roots in Great Falls, going back as far as having a great-grandfather, Gust Borgreen, who was a blacksmith. His work ethic of never missing work has been passed down to his great-granddaughter, Molly Borgreen Beck, who with a bundle of energy is known for what she can accomplish.

    Molly was inspired by her aunt, Julie Borgreen, also a Great Falls speech-language pathologist, to pursue a career in supporting individuals with communication disorders. To help pay for her education, Molly worked as a wildfire dispatcher for the Bureau of Land Management in Lewistown. During this time, she met her future husband, Kevin. After she completed her degree, she joined Kevin in Northwest Montana and started her career. With minimal speech therapy services in the area, Molly traveled across Sanders and Lake Counties, seeing clients from birth to geriatric.

    She credits her adaptability to the diverse experiences she had during those early years of her career.

    Five years later, the Beck family moved home to Great Falls. Molly found her dream position as a speech therapist at the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Clinic. She has been there for sixteen years and is now the clinic director. “The staff is composed of five speech therapists. We typically see 100-140 clients a week for a total of 250 children a year. I evaluate approximately 70 new clients annually,” said Beck. “The clinic always has a long list of families waiting for placement.”

    For years, the Scottish Rite of Ancient Free Masons has been committed to speech, language, and feeding therapy in children as its outreach commitment. Therapy was free to those who needed the service. Since this level of funding is no longer attainable, Molly has led the clinic in transforming the clinic’s funding structure, enabling the clinic to continue providing high quality service without placing a financial burden on families. As of January 2024, the program started to receive a revenue stream through billing insurance and Medicaid. This dramatic shift has made the speech clinic sustainable into the foreseeable future.

    In the Fall of 2022, Beck was asked to chair the “Vote Yes for Libraries Ballot Initiative Committee” for the Great Falls Public Library. Beck stepped up even though she knew it would be a project for which she had little experience. Due to her commitment to public library services and a desire to do her part in supporting a strong Great Falls, she took on the project. Beck was the right person for this role. “Her genuineness draws out the best in others,” said Jean Schroeder of Montana Empowerment Center, Inc.

    The campaign for passing the library levy was a busy year for Beck. Molly’s advocacy involved educating the community about the importance of a strong public library, a diverse collection, and compassion for library patrons. Molly made presentations to every Neighborhood Council and many service clubs throughout the community. She was also involved by providing pamphlets door to door, leading telephone-calling campaigns, distributing and posting yard signs, organizing a public rally, and promoting library support with sign-waving at key traffic corners.

    Molly gives tremendous credit to the other community leaders for providing guidance and support to the levy effort and to her personally. When the levy passed, Beck and her cohorts were exuberant that their efforts proved successful. In looking back at the campaign, a Great Falls Library Foundation member called Molly, a “Library Hero.” Now the library has been able to add staff; it will be open seven days a week; and the bookmobile can make additional stops in the community.

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