By Alyssa Penman
High Desert Daily
(Victorville)–The power of service was apparent yesterday at Spring Valley Lakes Country Club as more than 150 people gathered to celebrate at the Today’s Woman Mother’s Day Luncheon.
The goal of Today’s Woman Foundation is to “empower today’s woman” through the delivery of resources to enhance body, mind and spirit. As part of this effort, the Foundation recognized many High Desert women who are battling serious illness, giving service and improving our community. Event emcee and Y102 radio personality Colleen Quinn loves that this foundation is local. “We can get some bad press up here, but I was born and raised here and this is the kind of thing I love about the High Desert. I will always support them!”
The Foundation presented a financial award and recognition to Gail Taylor to support her as she battles cancer. In a heartfelt impromptu speech, Gail shared she lost her husband and many others to cancer, but that she “will win this battle for all those who went before.”
Jamie Lynn Scotti received the Anna Sugi Endowment Fund Scholarship to pursue a nursing degree. This was the first year for this scholarship and the impact Ms. Sugi had on the Foundation and the Victor Valley was clear. Nearly every speaker spoke of her legacy, many still very emotional over the loss of this outstanding woman late last year.
The keynote speaker summarized the value these women have and contribute with this quote from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Miss California 2010, Arianna Asfar, shared her journey through the Miss America organization, which has allowed her to champion her platform of quality of life for seniors in Washington, DC among many other acts of service. Though she is still a young woman, she understands and shared with the audience that “accomplishments do not come without obstacles.” To illustrate her point, the accomplished singer, who competed on American Idol at the age of 16, sang two beautiful songs: one of pain and one of triumph over it.
2011’s Inspiring Women were honored for their service to the community, but you can tell that, like Angelou said, they have made people feel good, cared for, important and hopeful. Whether working with students, animals or seniors, these ten women have built a legacy and set the bar for the High Desert citizenship. Honorees included Dr. Debbie Taranik, Sherri Hanke, Nadia Gonzalez, Cookie Blakely, June Brown, Kerri Santoro, Jackie Morgan, Sandra Rings, Charlotte “Chick” Kirk and Betty Halbe.
In a room full of so many accomplished people, including Miss High Desert 2010 Adriana Beaton, Mayor Ryan McEachron of Victorville, Mayor Scott Nassif of Apple Valley, Mayor Pro Tem Russ Blewett of Hesperia, Representatives from Assemblymen Steve Knight and Tim Donnelly and Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, and the Board of Directors of the Today’s Woman Foundation, there was still a sense of gratitude and humility for the contributions of everyday women. Stay at home mom Linda Paredes heard about the event on Y102 and ended up winning tickets to the Mother’s Day Luncheon. She and her guest Angela Lucero looked forward to being inspired at their first time at the event.
Dr. Eric Hanson, DO, made the purpose clear while presenting the Foundation Award to Ms. Taylor. “We don’t even comprehend what these women are dealing with,” he shared. “They can serve as an example to others with their strength, drive and will.” Even while dealing with cancer treatments or other obstacles, these women continue to get up, love, give, share, educate and heal.
Today’s Woman Foundation will host their Today’s Woman Expo on Saturday October 15, 2011. The guest speaker will be Dr. Susan Love, a champion of cancer research, author, researcher and head of Avon’s Army of Women.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou