Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset) announced today that Arlene O’Dell of Sea Cliff, Jo Greene of Woodbury and Peggy Vergis of Huntington Station, were honored at a June 14th Albany Reception as the Fifth Senate District 2005 "Women of Distinction." Their photographs and biographies are on display in a special public exhibit at the Legislative Office Building.
The exhibit and reception were arranged to celebrate the many women who have contributed to New York’s political, social and economic development. The Women of Distinction program was inaugurated in 1998. The honorees were selected for their outstanding service and significant contribution to our community.
Arlene O’Dell has dedicated the past 25 years of her life to enhancing the lives of children and families. As Executive Director of the Center for Parents and Children in Glen Cove, she has provided them with accessible and affordable parenting education classes. The Center was created as a place for new parents to turn for expert advice about the immense responsibility of raising children. Under Ms. O’Dell’s guidance, The Center grew to include off-site workshops, Mommy and Me classes and community outreach for teenage parents. Through her devotion, she helped a generation of local families feel more confident as parents, allowing them to fully enjoy each stage of their child's development.
Ms. O’Dell’s commitment to families and children is evident in her various volunteer activities. For many years, Ms. O’Dell has been active in the Interagency Council of Glen Cove and has been involved with networking and collaborating with other human service agencies. She has also served on the Advisory Board for Glen Cove’s Mentoring Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the board for Harbor Child Care. She was involved in her children’s schools and PTAs and helped initiate a program for the parents of nursery school age children at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church where she is a member.
Jo Greene’s life continuously pushes and expands the traditional boundaries placed upon women. A veracious Renaissance woman, she is an accomplished flautist, public servant, successful saleswoman and extensive contributor to the arts in Oyster Bay. As one of the first women in college history to be a full member of a fraternity, she was also elected first female President of her freshman class at Bowdoin. She then entered the male oriented fields of jazz and rock music, where she won the best flute soloist award at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival and continued on with a successful recording and performance career.
In 1988, Ms. Greene intensified her activities in public service when she began her career with Kiwanis International, shortly after women were allowed to become members. She went on to hold several elected offices in the club, and most recently, she served in the elected capacity of Lieutenant Governor of NYS Long Island Division of Kiwanis International.
Ms. Greene was one of only two women to achieve the Super Distinguished Past Lieutenant Governor’s status and in addition was the only NYS Lieutenant Governor to receive the Richard Hill Award for outstanding support of the ideals of the New York District of Key Club International.
Peggy Vergis, a life long resident of Suffolk County, has witnessed first hand how the Huntington community has blossomed and prospered over the years. In fact, her local pride sparked an abiding commitment to improving the quality of life by serving on the Boards of the Huntington Business Improvement District and the Huntington Economic Development Corporation. As Co-Founder of Citizens for a Better Huntington Station, Peggy Vergis’ activities included raising awareness of the historical importance of the town. Ms. Vergis’ inexhaustible efforts include several community beautification efforts, which resulted in a cleaner, safer town. Ms. Vergis spearheaded numerous programs to make Huntington Station a place of which all residents can be proud.
Ms. Vergis is a prolific volunteer not only for community programs but for many youth organizations as well. Ms. Vergis’ dedication to young people is evident by her avid participation in such worthy organizations as the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts. A strong supporter of youth sport programs, she has served as a softball coach where she was able to demonstrate to her players that teamwork and good sportsmanship are important lessons useful for the rest of their lives. Ms. Vergis sincerely believes that ultimately, this investment in our children is an investment in everyone’s quality of life.
"Arlene, Jo and Peggy are success stories that we can proudly share with our daughters, sisters and neighbors and who will serve as examples for achievement and excellence for our entire community. Their names now join those of other women whose accomplishments, sacrifices and deeds are deserving of a special honor," said Senator Marcellino.