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Napolitano Honors 2017 “Unsung Heroines” Women of the Year

April 25, 2017
Press Release

(EL MONTE, CA)  On Friday, April 21, 2017, Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano honored the 2017 “Unsung Heroines,” Women of the Year for exemplary service at an awards ceremony at the Grace T. Black Auditorium in El Monte.

“Out of the goodness of their hearts, these unsung heroines serve cities, schools, churches, nonprofits, and other organizations that are vital to our San Gabriel Valley communities,” Napolitano said. “They do so without expecting praise, which is why we attempt to recognize a few of the countless, deserving volunteers each year. We honor their selfless gifts of time, labor, and energy, and we thank all of their families who offer them support and encouragement.”

21 women received the award. Each woman’s name was submitted by her volunteer organization or community group that felt her contributions deserved special recognition. Napolitano gave out the awards and thanked the women personally.

“I find great satisfaction in supporting my city and elected officials in building the vision for our community and then watching that vision come to fruition,” said Veronica Cole of the Azusa Police Department. “It is something that I personally find very rewarding because my efforts can positively impact the future environment where my kids are growing up.  I enjoy partnering with those in my city who are working to provide a safe, educational and healthy place to live.” 

“It was an amazing feeling to be honored as a Woman of the Year by Congresswoman Napolitano,” said Patti Tris of Interfaith Council. “She and her staff put together a beautiful awards ceremony and luncheon, and it was especially awesome to personally meet my Congresswoman!”

“It was a privilege and honor to receive this award and to share it with the 20 other Unsung Heroines who have done so much for their communities,” said Donna Redman of the City of La Verne. “My 17-year-old daughter was in attendance and was inspired by these women and their selfless acts of volunteerism. My hope is that she will continue the tradition of giving back and will carry it forward into the next generation.”

"I would like to thank the Chamber for nominating me as a Woman of the Year,” said Theresa Velasco of the El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce. “I am extremely grateful and honored to receive this award from Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, although people who volunteer do not expect to be rewarded. The smiles and the thanks we receive are rewards enough for us.  May we continue to work together and support each other as have all the women recognized today. This is what makes our community a better place to live in and helps our children to grow into good citizens.”

The 2017 Women of the Year:

Rosa Atempa – Taking Responsibility and Control (T.R.A.C.) Neighborhood Watch

Mercedes Castro – Azusa Recreation and Family Services

Veronica Cole – Azusa Police Department

Donna Crippen – Mayor Andre Quintero, City of El Monte

Odette Cuccaro – Monrovia Chamber of Commerce

Frances Divine – City of La Verne – Community Services Department

Trudy Garnier – Councilmember Cruz Baca / Baldwin Park Woman’s Club

Connie Garrison – Foothill Unity Center, Inc.

Julie Gentile – Councilmember Becky Shevlin, City of Monrovia

Jocelyn Lopez – California Mental Health Connection

Karlene Morris – Taylor House in West Covina

Lorraine O’Brien – Baldwin Park Historical Society

Donna Redman – Mayor Don Kendrick, City of La Verne

Josie Rivera – Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education

Martha Rund – Monrovia Historic Preservation Group (MOHPG)

Dorothy Smith – Councilmember Liz Reilly, City of Duarte

LaShonda Spencer, M.D. – Foothill Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Helen Storland – Glendora Public Library and Board of Library Trustees

Esperanza “Tita” Tigno – St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

Patti Tris – Interfaith Council

Theresa “Tess” Velasco – El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce

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