BY REBECCA HOEFFNER, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 16th annual Women in Tyler luncheon honored six women on Thursday for being “Women Who Care.”
The six women who were chosen were Beverly Beavers Brooks, Jennifer Carson, Jean Coleman, Verna Hall, Irma Rodriguez and Rebecca Taylor.
Women in Tyler is known for celebrating women regardless of their age or ethnicity.
“There’s a need to show the diversity of Tyler,” said Arleta Farmer, committee member for the event.
Ruth Yeager, another member of the event committee, agreed.
“This is what we want to celebrate, all women of all colors, and to show Tyler how they give back,” she said.
Mayor Barbara Bass was in attendance, and read a proclamation declaring March 20 “Women in Tyler Day.”
“As the first woman mayor of Tyler, I am excited to make this proclamation,” she said. “I encourage all citizens to remember the voices of courageous women.”
Ms. Brooks, one of this year’s honorees, has spent her adult life working for the improvement of civil rights for women and minorities. For the last 14 years, she has served as the regional director of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor, which covers five states. In this position, she worked to get minority women into good jobs. She retired to her home town of Tyler and helped found the “All White Party with a Purpose,” which raises money for local charities each Labor Day. Ms. Brooks is a graduate of Leadership Texas and has received many national and local awards for her achievements.
“Tens of thousands of women have benefited from your work,” said Daye Collins, the presenter at the event.
Jennifer Carson founded nonprofits the Children’s Park, Glory Babies, and the Children are a Gift Foundation as a ministry to grieving families after delivering her second son stillborn in 1999.
“Jennifer isn’t afraid to go to what she calls ‘messy places,’ in the mind of grief and just be there for someone,” Mrs. Collins said.
Honoree Jean Coleman spent her professional life in nursing. She retired as the Chief Nursing Officer for Trinity Mother Frances Health System and vice president for patient care services. She founded the Greater East Texas Black Nurses Association, which has been instrumental in in recruiting black nurses into the field. She was the recipient of the Helen Farabee Leadership Award and Nurse of the Year. Ms. Coleman is a Fellow in the Johnson and Johnson-Wharton Program in management for nurse executives.
“She changed the ethnic balance of the nursing population,” Mrs. Collins said.
Verna Hall has been involved with several good causes during her years in Tyler. She is currently the president of the East Texas Food Bank and Tyler Museum of Art boards, and serves on the Bethesda Health Clinic and East Texas Symphony Orchestra board. She has also raised funds for Habitat for Humanity, the East Texas Crisis Center, the Heart of Tyler/Main Street, and the Andy Woods PTA. She is a graduate of Leadership Tyler Class 22.
Rebecca Taylor was recruited to be a nurse from the Philippines more than 40 years ago. She was a nurse for many years before moving into the human resource department at the East Texas Medical Center. When Typhoon Hiyan hit the Philippines in November, she traveled with MercyWorks to use her nursing skills to help.