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Brook named CEO of foundation

Cara Dingus Brook, a native of Lawrence County, has been named the new president and CEO of The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, a Nelsonville-based organization that serves southeastern Ohio.

The foundation was created in 1998 as a regional community foundation serving 29 counties of Appalachian Ohio including Lawrence County.

Brook, originally from South Point, is a 1999 graduate of Ironton High School. She graduated from Ohio University Honors Tutorial College earning a bachelor’s degree in English in three years. She also received a master’s degree in public administration from OU.

She is the daughter of Bill and Donna Dingus. Bill Dingus is the executive director of the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce and Lawrence Economic Development Corporation.

Donna Dingus is on the Briggs Lawrence County Library board and organist for the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in Huntington.

After Brook finished her bachelor’s degree, she discovered a lump on the back of her neck and found out she had a malignant tumor.

“For eleven months she underwent chemotherapy and she was hospitalized each time she was treated,” Donna Dingus said. “Cara is a survivor, she is a very determined person and she was able to overcome the cancer. It’s quite a blessing to have her healthy again.”

Having that experience has changed her life and has helped her grow in many respects, her mother said. Brook mentors other cancer patients and helps them.

When she was a teenager, Brook spent about nine weeks for three summers at Kodiak, Alaska, Baptist Mission as a volunteer.

“I worked with Cara when I was a board member and she was an employee at that time,” said Ron Strickmaker, board chairman. “When she left to work with Sen. Voinovich I thought what a true child of Appalachia she was. She just exemplifies hard-working people and people who want to give back to the area they grew up in.”

Brook will begin her new position in September. She said she was unable to comment because of her current position with Sen. George Voinovich.