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The Dansville Online
  • Sen. Tom O'Mara: Women’s History Month

  • My Senate colleagues and I seek to select one new “Woman of Distinction” honoree from each of our respective districts who’s then honored at an awards ceremony in Albany in May.

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  • Spring’s in the air, as they say, with reminders of it everywhere. We’ve turned the clocks ahead and welcome these longer hours of daylight. It’s time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the official first day of spring’s just around the corner, and the sports pages are filled with reports on a new season of baseball and the NCAA’s “March Madness.”
    And let’s not forget, for the past 15 years, that it’s also the time when the New York State Senate turns our attention to the national observance of Women’s History Month in March with what’s become a highly anticipated program at the Capitol known as “Women of Distinction.”
    It starts with the announcement I recently made that the nominating process is underway once again across my 53rd District, and in senate districts across New York, to identify local women making outstanding contributions to their communities. My Senate colleagues and I seek to select one new “Woman of Distinction” honoree from each of our respective districts who’s then honored at an awards ceremony in Albany in May.
    Last year, my first year in the Senate, Carol Berry of Hornell, a long-time regional library professional and currently director of the Dormann Library in Bath, was chosen as my inaugural inductee.
    It’s a simple idea that’s generated a strong response here at home and statewide since 1997. We all know someone who makes an enormous difference to the community at large and whether she’s a service provider, a teacher going above and beyond the call of duty, a businesswoman or simply a community resident known for her good deeds, the Senate’s “Women of Distinction” tribute offers an opportunity to give an outstanding local citizen a statewide round of applause.
    The deadline for submitting a nomination this year is Friday, April 6. Anyone interested can find out more about the program and obtain a nomination form through my Senate website, www.omara.nysenate.gov, or by contacting any of my offices in Bath (607-776-3201), Elmira (607-735-9671) or Albany (518-455-2091).
    In addition to the local nominating process, the Senate also unveils an exhibit in the Legislative Office Building paying tribute to “Women of Distinction” from throughout New York’s history. The opening of this year’s exhibit is scheduled for March 19. This historical exhibit features notable New York women, past and present, including Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Eleanor Roosevelt and, since 2007, the career and life of astronaut and Elmira native Eileen M. Collins.
    For the first time this year, the exhibit will also include, as a result of a nomination I received last year, a tribute to Susan E. Hall, who was raised in the Tompkins County town of Ulysses and is recognized as one of the first women from New York State to be accepted as a nurse in the Civil War. She served in field hospitals on numerous Civil War battlefields, including Bull Run and Gettysburg. You can visit omara.nysenate.gov on March 19 for an online look at this year’s historical exhibit and Susan E. Hall’s place in it. It’s fantastic local history.
    Page 2 of 2 - In short, the Senate’s historical “Women of Distinction” exhibit is our version of a New York State Women’s Hall of Fame. It’s a great way to help remind all New Yorkers that March is Women’s History Month and to help ensure that the women honored here will endure in this way for the benefit, the education, and the memory of future generations of New Yorkers.

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