Announcing the 2010 Women of Compassion Honorees
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2010 Women of Compassion Recipients Announced
For additional information, contact:
Beth Maiden, Communications Officer
August 19, 2010, LORAIN, OHIO – Seven local women have been selected as recipients of the Third Annual Women of Compassion Awards, a joint effort by The Community Foundation of Lorain County and Lorain County Community College to celebrate women and the behind-the-scenes work that they do to make a difference. Almost three dozen nominations solicited through a community-input process were reviewed by a volunteer committee that selected the following recipients:
Mildred Senquiz Figueroa
Mildred loves children and works tirelessly on their behalf. She created Noah’s Ark Childcare to nurture and teach children within the community. She established the National Handmaidens’ Association to help and encourage young women overwhelmed by the pressures of life. After the passing of her oldest daughter, she developed Shalom, an organization that feeds more than 100 children in Uruguay each week. Her nominators write… “Mildred has inspired everyone in her community.” “Never selfish, never tiring and never complaining, she just wants to make a difference, not for herself, but for others.” “Mildred has demonstrated her selflessness by providing spiritual, emotional and material needs to those she comes in contact with.” She is a woman of faith, caring and dedication to others.
Shanyn Flesch is no stranger to tragedy and grief. She became an orphan as a teenager but channeled that loss to help others by establishing the Angels for Kids Foundation. Through this foundation, Shanyn helps children in need with gifts, clothing and support following tragedies, at Christmas, and during hospital stays. One nominator writes, “Her enthusiasm is contagious. She makes you want to help and do whatever you can.” Shanyn provides children in need with clothing, school supplies, games and toys. She gives gift cards to homeless families. She sponsored a holiday party for kids at a homeless shelter. She raised money to help children in Haiti. She took 26 underprivileged children—and their mothers—for free haircuts and meals. She bakes cookies to send to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another nominator writes, “Her strength and courage are inspiring. I have witnessed her come through so many painful losses without becoming hard and angry. Instead, she is kind, gentle, caring and generous.”
Diane Goodwin’s nominators describe her as a selfless, caring, honest and compassionate woman—and the “best boss an employee could have!” One of Diane’s employees, a single mother struggling financially, didn’t have gas money to get to work. Instead of handing her a disciplinary note, she gave her a $20 bill. This is simply one example of the compassion and caring Diane shows to all. “No matter what, she always has your best interest at heart,” writes one nominator. Diane has dedicated her life to working with people with developmental disabilities as house manager for two houses in Elyria. She collects food for food banks, volunteers with the Salvation Army and works on behalf of breast cancer awareness. She pours her heart and soul into helping individuals with special needs. She takes her residents on recreational outings, to medical appointments, and organizes family picnics. A supporter writes, “She does a million times more for these folks than anyone can expect using her time, love and money of her own—and smiling and hugging at the same time.”
I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone. According to one nominator, this is the golden rule by which Maryann Ketchesin lives. Another writes, “Intelligent, action-oriented, unpretentious, upbeat, and tremendously caring—these qualities combine to make Maryann Ketchesin an extraordinarily inspiring woman!” To say Maryann is active in her community in an understatement. She puts her beliefs and actions to work on a daily basis on behalf of others. She is active with Catholic Action Commission, St. Mary’s Social Concerns Commission, Lorain County Furniture Bank, Lorain County Task Force for the Homeless, and more. She delivers meals, sends cards, organizes blood pressure clinics, collects food, washes dishes, raises money and much more. Maryann does what needs to be done to help others. “Mrs. Ketchesin is quietly involved in many lives throughout Lorain County as a supporter of those in need, friend to the lonely, advocate for the underserved and great inspiration to all who know her,” writes a nominator.
When Bridget Moreno hears of a need, she springs into action. The Haven Center, Lorain County’s only year-round emergency shelter for men, women and children unexpectedly needed to replace all 68 wooden bed frames. Bridget organized and hosted a fundraiser that raised over $10,000. The beds were ordered the next day! She has also helped raise funds for playground equipment and led a donation drive to furnish and stock a newly created infant room at City View. A nominator writes, “Bridget motivates others with such effortless ease; many of the donors wrote notes offering assistance—any time there is a need.” Fundraising and donor drives aren’t the only ways Bridget helps others. She is a weekly volunteer at the City View Child Care Center. Bridget offers the children there encouragement and love. A nominator writes, “Everything she does to inspire and motivate children is with purpose: to educate and empower.” One supporter writes, “Her generosity of spirit is boundless, her grace is extraordinary.”
“I just love Mrs. Neuhoff!” This is something one of Rhonda’s nominators hears all the time. This isn’t just because Rhonda is an exceptional educator. It is also because she is an exceptional person. Those who wrote in support of her nomination told how she always puts the needs of the children first. One parent told a story of how Mrs. Neuhoff took special care of her daughter who has a rare genetic disease causing very small stature. Mrs. Neuhoff arranged for her daughter to remain at Harris Elementary. Rhonda also makes sure she has ample ketchup at her disposal since she puts it on everything she eats. This special care and attention will always be remembered and appreciated by this family. Rhonda Neuhoff demonstrates her caring and compassion for others on a regular basis. She has provided students with lunch money, she supports and encourages her staff to fulfill their dreams of higher education, she has gotten bicycles and helmets for special needs students who, at 10 years old, did not know how to ride a bike. Her nominator writes, “She teaches caring by example.”
Rising Star Recipient
Selfless. Inclusive. Hard working. Committed. Personable. Inspiring. These are words that her nominators use to describe Samantha Flores. Samantha is currently serving her second one-year term as an Ohio Benefit Bank Trainer for AmeriCorps*VISTA at Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio. In this position, she works tirelessly 6 days a week on behalf of others. Her efforts through area tax clinics generated over $160,000 in tax refunds to low and middle income earners. Her supervisor writes, “She has an unflinching motivation to make her community a better place and keeps us well informed on the issues that affect families in Lorain County.” All who know her are certain Sam has a bright future ahead of her and that the many people she will serve are fortunate to have her determination and caring working for them.
The recipients will be recognized at a gala luncheon to be held on Thursday, October 14, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM at the Spitzer Conference Center on the campus of Lorain County Community College. Brooke Taylor, morning-drive host on the FISH 95.5 FM will serve as emcee. Tickets are $35 apiece or $300 for a sponsored table of eight and may be purchased online at www.peoplewhocare.org or by calling 440.277.0142 or 440.323.4445. Proceeds will benefit The Community Foundation’s Women’s Fund and the Women’s LINK program at LCCC.