MORGAN -- A local woman is receiving national attention for her volunteer efforts to help give a second chance to women after they recover from alcohol and drug addiction.
Cathie McGregor Critchlow has received the Good Neighbor Award from the National Association of Realtors for her work with Ogden's Women's Retreat House.
The founder and president of the organization's board of directors, Critchlow was featured on the cover of last month's National Realtor Magazine.
She also was recognized last month at the National Realtor Convention and received a $10,000 grant and a $2,000 Lowe's charge card to help the Women's Retreat House mission.
"It's been just a humbling experience," Critchlow said of the honor, which has brought recognition and assistance to the house from throughout the United States.
"We've had calls from all over the country. It's been very helpful to the retreat house."
Critchlow said she applied for the award with the idea of helping the organization in this manner.
"It's very close in my heart," she said of the organization. "It's a beautiful thing. It's amazing. It helps so many women. It's been a huge gift to have something like that on the East Bench in Ogden."
Critchlow is a partner in The Franklin Group realty firm, which has offices in Kaysville, Farr West, South Ogden and Morgan, where she works the most often.
Juli Smith, office administrator at the Women's Retreat House, said she has seen Critchlow give uncounted, heartfelt hours to the cause.
"(This award) is a wonderful commentary on the sacrifices she's made to establish this house," Smith said. "I've personally never seen someone contribute so much of their personal time to a project like this."
Smith also said she has seen Critchlow communicate one on one in a touching way with the women who receive help from the organization that has served them since 2007.
In the article in the National Realtor Magazine, editors comment on the state of the women helped at the Women's Retreat House.
"They are the women who have prevailed over a disease that dominated their lives and wreaked havoc on their families," states the article.
It outlines the thousands of hours per year Critchlow devotes to helping these women because she knows the great potential they have to affect the lives of others.
"Mothers and wives are the hearts of a home," she said in the national publication. "When you help save a woman from addiction, you may be saving a child, a family and an entire community."
Her yearly support helps more than 300 women.
Personal loss is the motivation behind Critchlow's commitment to the cause. She lost her father in 1999 to health complications related to alcoholism.
"The experience mobilized her to help others conquer the challenges that he could not," states the article. "Through volunteer work with Alcoholics Anonymous, she came to recognize the need for a specialized live-in program just for women in Northern Utah."
When Critchlow and a longtime friend, Joan Romney, sought to create such a facility, she thought back to a women's spiritual retreat she had attended at a 12-bedroom retreat house, owned by the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains.
When Critchlow learned the facility was being closed, she used her real estate skills to negotiate a long-term lease.
The Women's Retreat House accommodates up to 20 women for up to four months each.
Critchlow manages the all-volunteer staff and works hands-on with residents to assess their needs.
She then lines up appropriate counseling and education, including parenting classes, job training and medical care.
She also helps each woman connect with a sponsor -- someone in recovery who is now helping others -- and strives to create an overall atmosphere of cooperation and fellowship.
"God gave me leadership skills and the training to be able to help give these women a second chance," Critchlow said in the article.
Women typically learn about the house through referrals from hospitals, police officers and judges. Residents are of all ages and come from all walks of life, but they share the strong desire to make a life change.
Residents pay $100 per week to help cover room and board, and all other funding for the house comes from small donations and fundraisers such as a barbecue dinner, a walkathon and a parking-lot rummage sale.