The Paramus Post

Senator Robert Menendez To Host Third Annual Women Of Distinction Awards

The Paramus Post — Tuesday, March 6, 2012

By Mel Fabrikant

In celebration of Women's History Month, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez will present the Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award to a diverse group of New Jersey women in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the Garden State and their compassionate, effective advocacy on behalf of New Jerseyans

Honors six New Jersey women of extraordinary achievement with The Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award. New Jerseyan Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator of the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection, to deliver keynote address

Senator Menendez created the Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award to pay tribute to his mother, who passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease: "My mother was a strong woman — a trailblazer to me in every sense of the word," said Senator Menendez. "I knew, after she passed away, I wanted to pay tribute to her — to do something to honor her life and her memory. That's why, for her, in her name, we recognize distinguished New Jersey women. Women who have served our great state, who have embraced its challenges and improved the quality of life of so many"

WHEN: Sunday, March 11, 2012
6:30 PM

WHERE: Margaret Williams Theatre
New Jersey City University
2039 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Jersey City, NJ 07305

RSVP: Please call 973-645-6360 or to RSVP online Click Here

Below, please find a list of the 2012 Honorees accompanied by short biographies:

Colonel Terese Bernadette Acocella of Annandale is an Iraqi war veteran who is blazing trails as Chairwoman of the New Jersey Commission On Women Veterans. Mrs. Acocella has been a member of the New Jersey Army National Guard as a Medical Service Corps officer for 26 years serving in many different leadership roles. Currently, she is a contractor for the NJ Army National Guard as the Survivor Outreach Services coordinator. This program is dedicated to providing long-term support and services to families of the Fallen and deceased service members. Mrs. Acocella has also worked as a Special education teacher and is pursuing her Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling with the ultimate goal of working with people who have experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries during combat.

Jeanne M. DelColle, of Marlton is New Jersey's 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year, and has been blazing trails in education for the past sixteen years. As a high school U.S. & World History teacher at Burlington County Institute of Technology Westampton's campus, Ms. DelColle gives her students an awareness of the world by going beyond the textbook and exploring historical concepts through art, literature, philosophy, science and religion. Ms. DelColle is always working to expand her own knowledge through professional development, continued education, and travel. Referred to as the "real-life female Indiana Jones" by her students, she brings the world into the classroom by sharing experiences of her travels on five continents. Ms. DelColle is an outstanding educator who has made a profound impact on our New Jersey students.

Linda Walder Fiddle, Esq. of Ridgewood is helping blaze trails for adults with autism as the Founder and Executive Director of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation (DJF). This national Autism organization aims to develop, advocate for, and fund programs that create innovative ways for the diverse population of adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to participate in and contribute to community life. Ms. Fiddle's national, volunteer-driven organization was created in memory of her son, Danny, who passed away at the age of 9. She has dedicated her life to create and bring to fruition a wide range of initiatives that enhance the lives of people on the spectrum and foster awareness of autism. Linda's standard of excellence doesn't stop at her autism advocacy. She recently helped open two schools outside of Phnom Penh with a group that included her daughter, Ava.

Katherine Grant-Davis is blazing trails as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Primary Care Association in Trenton. NJPCA is a membership organization of health centers dedicated to advocating on behalf of the medically underserved. Under the leadership of Ms. Grant-Davis, these health centers are widely known around the state of New Jersey as providers of quality comprehensive care to thousands of uninsured and underinsured individuals. Katherine's commitment to New Jersey's health centers - which include community, migrant and homeless health centers, makes a real difference in the lives of New Jerseyans who can get the access to medical care and medications they need.

Esperanza Porras-Field of Morristown blazed a new trail when she founded the Morris County Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce which she is now President and CEO of. This chapter advocates, promotes and advances the interests of small business owners and organizations that target and serve the Hispanic-American market. A businesswoman engaged in Real Estate, development, consulting and training, Ms. Porras-Field is always taking her career, and thus her community impact, to new heights. Her reputation as a dynamic and creative leader of the Hispanic community of Morris County is exemplified by her leadership role in many of the organizations that assist the citizens of Morris County. Ms. Porras-Field is a positive role model outside the business world as well. She's Executive Producer of "Mi Casa Es Su Casa", the bilingual, award winning cable program in Morris County.

Phyllis Salowe-Kaye of West Orange has been blazing trails as Executive Director of New Jersey Citizen Action for the last twenty-five years. She has negotiated more than 40 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) agreements with almost all of New Jersey's largest banks, and several of the smallest, totaling more than $22 billion dollars in below-market rate mortgages, discounted home improvement loans, construction and permanent financing for non-profits, small business loans targeted to women and minorities, and community and economic development lending. Ms. Salowe-Kaye also serves as a Board member of USAction, a national progressive coalition working on issues such as health care and education, providing a national voice for progressive values. In December 2009, Phyllis was appointed to the Consumer Advisory Commission of the Federal Reserve Bank in Washington, D.C. Phyllis is a role model and a leader, a woman whose banking expertise is an asset to the community. Her efforts make a real impact on those having difficulty with the housing market and people trying to start their own business.

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