Assemblyman to honor eight women in annual ceremony
by Patrick Kearns
Mar 08, 2017 | 2768 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The honorees include (from left to right) Jennifer Farley, Janet Chan-Smith, Josephine Wendell and Mary Farley.
The honorees include (from left to right) Jennifer Farley, Janet Chan-Smith, Josephine Wendell and Mary Farley.
Assemblyman Mike Miller is honoring eight “Women of Distinction” from his district at an awards ceremony on March 9.

About six years ago Miller started the program, modeled after a similar award presented by members of the State Senate.

“I was a little annoyed that the Assembly didn't have a program like this,” he said.

He was told there was no interest in starting such a program by the speaker, so Miller decided to start his own.

The ceremony is at 7 p.m. at the One Stop Richmond Hill Community Center at 110-08 Jamaica Avenue.

“It's a really nice night,” Miller said.

One of this year's honorees is 53-year Woodhaven resident Josephine Wendell, who spends most of her time behind the camera recording life in Woodhaven.

She said her fascination with taking photos began with her father. When she was 13, she got her own camera and started taking pictures.

“My dad used to take pictures and video of me growing up and that kind of helped,” she said. “He was the first to start me off with it.”

When her husband Ed Wendell started the website Project Woodhaven, she began to photograph Woodhaven events.

“He was always in front of the camera helping the community,” she said. “I was taking pictures of everything that was going on.”

Over the years, she's amassed a collection of over 40,000 photos. The plan is to donate all of them to the Queens Library's Queens Memory Project.

“The next generation can look back and say 'oh wow, I didn't know they did that,' or 'how come that was never kept up?'” she said.

Wendell also had praise for her fellow honorees, who are Mary Arnold and Mary Parisen of Glendale, Janet Forte, Janet Chan-Smith, Jennifer Farley and Mary Farley of Woodhaven, and Wendy Bowne of Richmond Hill, as well as the many other women in the community making a difference.

“I feel very honored to be with them because they do a lot for the community,” she said. “It's not just one person, it's everyone together.”

Ed said it's nice for Josephine to be honored as an affirmation to his wife's behind-the-scenes hard work, documenting nearly ten events a month.

“A lot of times we're there an hour before the event and an hour afterwards,” he said. “Sometimes it's in the bitter cold or in the extreme heat, it's a lot of hard work.”

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