Seventeen women were honored for their inspiring accomplishments at the annual "Women of Distinction" ceremony, sponsored by Assemblyman Dave McDonough, R-Merrick, and Assemblyman Tom McKevitt, R-East Meadow, Saturday morning at Merrick Library.
The ceremony kicked off with the posting of the colors by the Merrick American Legion Post 1282 Color Guard, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, opening remarks and the presentation of awards.
Honorees from Bellmore-Merrick included: Candace Appleton, Barbara Byrne, Sandra G. Johnson (not in attendance), Marion Kraskow, Tammy McLoughlin, Margaret Mueller, Lisa Williams Schary, Linda Toscano and Martha Verdi.
Appleton, a former attorney with Nassau/Suffolk Law Services and once appointed assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said, "My sons jokingly said I was a woman of extinction, but I said, 'No, distinction,' so I was really happy for them to see me here."
Legionnaire Byrne, who works as a special education aide in North Merrick School District, said she felt, "very, very good" about getting her award and she also received the "Legionnaire of the Year" award last March.
McLoughlin, current president of the Merrick Kiwanis Club, wasn't expecting to receive such an honor.
"For me it's incredibly gratifying because what was instilled in me as a child in my family…I'm grateful and happy to do with my own children," she said. "This is a great way for me to try to give back to my community—and I just love Merrick."
Honorees from other communities included: Joan Mahoney Brown, Noreen Bush (not in attendance), Linda Hurley, Ele Ruth Melendez, Vilma Nuzio, Denise J. Riojas, Janice Seyfried (not in attendance) and Randi Shubin Dresner.
Each woman has made strides in their efforts to better the communities in which they live. Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray acknowledged that fact and said, "Thank you for your activism, advocacy and keep up the good work."