Thirteen women from across the 7th Senate District have been honored by Senator Craig Johnson for their commitment and contributions to their communities. These "Women of Distinction" are comprised of community activists, local officials, religious and cultural leaders, and children's advocates, among others, whose work has enriched their neighborhoods and improve the lives of their neighbors.
"These women are here every day striving to make our communities better places," Senator Johnson said. "Individually, their work has
touched countless lives. Collectively, they are a large part of what makes Nassau a great place to live. This recognition is a small token
of appreciation that pales in comparison to their true impact."
These women were honored by Senator Johnson at a recent dinner at the Swan Club in Roslyn. The reception featured a keynote address by award-winning author Susan Isaacs.
The honorees include:
• Sue Auriemma, (Manhasset), a founding member and driving force behind the Coalition for a Safer Manhasset, an organization that
dedicated to improving traffic safety and has successfully fought for legislative action of these issues on the local, state and federal levels.
• The Rev. Adrienne Brewington, (Westbury), religious leader and pastor of the Westbury United Methodist Church, and a trailblazer who has dedicated herself to empowering young girls and women in her congregation, as well as looking after the spiritual needs of her entire flock.
• Michele Cerro, (Mineola), a community activist, whose dogged determination to raise awareness of flooding issues that have long plagued her neighborhood have spurred local action resulting in flood insurance being available in the community for the first time. She continues her efforts in her village for much-needed infrastructure improvements to solve the flooding issues.
• Virginia Dente, (New Hyde Park), a children's social welfare advocate and founder of Joey's Friends Too, a grassroots organization
that raises money for equipment for disabled children. The organization is named after her son, Joey Dente Jr., who died in 1993
from a pulmonary infection. During the last months of his life, Joey was confined to a rented wheelchair that was constantly breaking down,
while the family's medical insurance said would not cover a new one. Dente and her family have dedicated themselves to making sure that no child with a disability has to do without the proper equipment they need to live their lives.
• Yvette Edidin, (Roslyn), a philanthropist, community activist, and founder of the Roslyn Harbor Civic Association. Her efforts empowered
the community and encouraged greater participation in local government. Her community involvement has taken the next step. Last
week, she was elected mayor of Roslyn Harbor.
• Claudine Hall, (Elmont), community leader and president of the Jamaica Square Improvement League. She has been a tenacious advocate for the revitalization of her neighborhood and the greater Elmont area. In her capacity as president, Claudine has helped secure new
street signs and continues to fight for a community center and a supermarket for the Jamaica Square neighborhood.
• The Hon. Kristina Lynch, (Stewart Manor), Deputy Mayor. Kristina has been a tireless advocate for her community since her election in 2005,
and was an instrumental part in revitalizing the village pool.
• Maureen Meenaghan, (Williston Park), political activist. For decades, Maureen has dedicated herself to improving the lives of the residents of her community and a proponent of higher education. At one time working as a constituent service representative for a local assemblyman, Maureen has continued in that vein as a volunteer participating with, among other causes, the Girl Scouts, sitting on the St. Aidans' School Board, and participating in a task force that addressed the needs of seniors in her community.
• Estell Myers, (New Cassel), community organizer. After overcoming a debilitating illness that was traced to a brain tumor, Estell has
dedicated herself to improving the needs of those around her. Through grassroots activism and constant communication with local elected
officials, Estell has become a leader in New Cassel and a trusted voice for her community.
• Rathi Raja, (Herricks), cultural educator. A first generation immigrant from India, Rathi founded the Young Indian Culture Group. Her efforts to educate Herricks about culture and tradition have contributed to the richness of the community.
• Miriam Shiff, (Great Neck), medical community leader. Her 25-year battle with diabetes, and watching other suffer with the disease, has
led to her work as a member of the Board of Directors for the Diabetic Research Institute. Her outspoken advocacy and tenacious work in this arena have made her an inspiration.
• Amrit Sethi, (Port Washington), educator. Founding the Happy Montessori School in 1970, Amrit's commitment to education has touched
generations of preschoolers. Her impact on their lives has been so profound that many of her original students have sent their own
children to the Happy Montessori School.
• Theresa Whalen, (Floral Park), Entrepreneur. As the owner of Sterling Sign, Theresa has been a business leader in her village, as well as Nassau County. Her fortitude in pursuing and expanding her company has made her an inspiration.