Women in Tyler names 6 ‘who care’

Published on Tuesday, 7 January 2014 23:00 - Written by REBECCA HOEFFNER rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

The honorees have been chosen for the Women in Tyler luncheon slated for March 20 at the Rose Garden Center.

“We sell out every year,” said Judith Guthrie, one of the founders of Women in Tyler. “It’s really popular because we find women you wouldn’t normally run across.”

This year’s theme celebrates “Women Who Care.”

“All the women say, ‘I’m not worthy,’ when we call them,” Mrs. Guthrie said. “But they are. They do amazing things.”

Women in Tyler was founded in 1999 as a way to celebrate Women’s History Month and honor women who have contributed to the quality of life in the community, according to the website.

Each year, a planning committee gathers to select honorees. This year’s co-chairwomen are Sharon Brown and Christi Kennedy.

“This is the 15th year Women in Tyler has brought together people from different backgrounds, different professions and different social groups to celebrate those who have made a difference in our city,” Mrs. Brown said. “I am so proud to be a part of it.”

Past honorees have included women who have made their mark in the arts, in business, through volunteerism, in historic preservation, health care, education and many other areas.

This year’s nominees are Beverly Brooks, Jennifer Carson, Jean Coleman, Verna Hall, Irma Rodriguez and Rebecca Taylor.

Mrs. Brooks has spent her adult years working for the improvement of civil rights for women and minorities.

The past 14 years, she was the regional director of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor in Dallas, covering a five-state region. She is a graduate of Leadership Texas and has received many national and local awards for her many achievements. She has retired to her hometown of Tyler and helped found the All White Party With A Purpose, which raises money for local charities each Labor Day.

Mrs. Carson moved to Tyler with her husband to lead the life of a wife and mother. The death of her infant led her to create a positive place for those who have lost children by creating The Children’s Park, now one of Tyler’s most loved and used parks. She serves as the president of the Children Are A Gift Foundation.

Mrs. Coleman spent her professional life in nursing before retiring as the chief nursing officer for Trinity Mother Frances Health System and vice president for Patient Care Services. Her proudest achievement was to increase the number of minority nurses in the area, according to the news release. She founded the Greater East Texas Black Nurses Association, which has been instrumental in addressing the health care needs of the community and recruiting black nurses into the field. She is the recipient of numerous awards during her career, including the Helen Farabee Leadership Award and Nurse of the Year. She is a fellow in the Johnson & Johnson-Wharton Program in Management for Nurse Executives.

The consummate community volunteer, Mrs. Hall has supported, raised money for, been president of or on the board of almost every good cause in Tyler throughout the many years she has lived in Tyler. To name a few, she is the president of the East Texas Food Bank and the Tyler Museum of Art. She has been the president of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, the Tyler Symphony League, serves on the board of the Bethesda Health Clinic and raised money and supported Habitat for Humanity, the East Texas Crisis Center, Heart of Tyler/Main Street, The University of Texas at Tyler and Tyler Junior College.

Mrs. Rodriguez is the executive assistant at the East Texas Food Bank. She has served as the vice president of the East Texas Hispanic Leadership Council, is secretary of the Hispanic Education Alliance, is the community representative with the Tyler ISD District Planning Committee and the Andy Woods Parent Teacher Association. She is a supporter and volunteer of Bethesda Health Clinic and Habitat for Humanity.

Originally from the Philippines, Mrs. Taylor and her personal journey for prosperity and independence led her into nursing and to Tyler more than 40 years ago. She has served in a nursing capacity for many years before moving into the administrative end at East Texas Medical Center in the human resources department. In November, when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, she volunteered with MercyWorks and traveled to her homeland to render medical care to the thousands in need.

The public is invited to the March 20 event. Tickets are $25. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.womenintyler.com .