Pol honors 'Women of Distinction'
Mar 15, 2017 | 1610 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Assemblyman Mike Miller recognized several community leaders and advocates at his annual Women of Distinction Awards Dinner on March 9.

“This year we had a great group women who come from all different walks of life,” said Miller. “They have and continue to make a difference, and I can tell you it gives me great joy to work with each one of them on the issues that matter most to them.”

Here are the honorees:

Mary Arnold

As a longtime resident of Glendale, Arnold has advocated tirelessly for local environmental issues.

She worked as the development director of the Hackensack River Keeper for 10 years and along with her neighbor and fellow honoree Mary Parisen, founded the Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions, a coalition aimed at improving the safety of the rail lines that travel through Queens.

Janet Forte

Forte grew up in Corona and lived, worked and went to school all over Queens before settling in Woodhaven, where she serves as a block captain for the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association.

She’s a civic-minded leader. As president of the 38th Assembly District Part B Democratic Club, she helps organize meetings, petition drives and runs an annual women in politics breakfast.

Janet Chan-Smith

The local community involvement of Chan-Smith goes back more than two decades. Over the years, she has served as president and vice president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, where she’s currently a board member.

As a member of the ladies auxiliary of American Legion Post 118, she’s active in raising donations for veterans at home and abroad. She’s also an active member of the 38th Assembly District Part B Democratic Club.

Wendy Bowne

Bowne, who moved to Richmond Hill in 1989, first became active locally with the parent teacher association (PTA) at her children’s school, PS 51. From there, she became president of the PTA at MS 137.

Her local advocacy didn’t end at the school however, as she then joined the Richmond Hill Block Association, of which she now serves as president. In her time, she’s organized graffiti cleanups, toy drives and fought alongside other residents to save Engine Company 294 when budget cuts loomed.

Mary Parisen

As a longtime educator, Parisen has served children in Forest Hills as a special education teacher and a media specialist.

In 2004, she co-founded Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions. She has fought for greener, newer and more environmentally friendly locomotives and cleaner air for residents of Queens.

Jennifer Farley

Farley, a nearly life-long Woodhaven resident, is a public school teacher. She’s active in St. Thomas the Apostle, helping with various activities and serving a multitude of roles.

She’s currently president of the Woodhaven unit of the American Legion 118 Auxiliary, of which she’s been a member for 18 years. She has served as the chair for many fundraising programs on behalf of the legion auxiliary.

Mary Farley

Despite being born in Brooklyn, Farley has been an integral member of the Woodhaven community since moving there.

She’s also an 18-year member of the American Legion 118 Auxiliary, where she’s taken on a leadership role at the unit level. In her time with the auxiliary, she’s overseen the implementation of various Flag Day programs and helps coordinate visits to the St. Albans veterans hospital.

Josephine Wendell

Wendell, a lifelong Woodhaven resident, has lived in the same house her entire life. For the past eight years, she’s become an active volunteer with the Woodhaven Residents’' Block Association, the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center for Women.

Her hobby of photography has become integral to documenting various civic activities, amassing over 40,000 photos of various community gatherings and events.
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