From ages of 19 to 93, women continue being the main source of inspiration in their families and their communities
By Agustin Duran
Olga Moedano heard her name being called by Aide Castro, councilmember from Lynwood, to receive an award. At the podium, she thanked two people for their support and guidance; they were two women: her mother and grandmother. She suddenly broke down in tears and could no longer continue.
She didn’t volunteer her time and work to receive an award. Olga did it because she cared about the environment and wants justice for everyone including herself. “I have bronchitis and every time I get sick it is because of the pollution.”
“Often construction companies do not want to follow the rules to protect the environment and that’s what we do. We make sure they follow the environmental rules to protect the people who live around those communities they are working in.”
With only 19 years of age and already a community leader, her work and efforts were recognized on Saturday with the Achievement in Environmental Protection Award by the new assembly member in town, Anthony Rendon.
Olga wasn’t the only one, but she was the youngest of the six women that were recognized for their altruist work, leadership, education and dedication to their community. On the other hand, Grace Old showed everyone in the room that at 93 years of age, volunteer work can still be done.
Grace, an immigrant from South Wales (Europe) and resident of Long beach, received the Woman of Distinction Award because of her life of work and volunteer. One of the things she did was to help set up the office of Strategic Services which later evolved into the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
After raising her two sons by herself, Grace volunteers with the Red Cross and has been participating since then in so many other projects. On Saturday, she wasn’t able to go, but Eric Donald, poet and rocket scientist received the award on her behalf.
Other recipients were: Nelida Sanchez from the city of Bell received the Woman of Distinction Achievement in Civic Engagement; Lucy Avalos from Lynwood received the Woman of Distinction Achievement in Business; Caitin Bolt-Chambers from Lakewood received the Young Woman of Distinction and Daisy D. Alfaro from Lynwood received the Woman of Distinction Achievement in Education.
Before the presentation of the 2013 Women of Distinction Awards, Rendon also praised his mother and three sisters for their support and efforts to help him become who he is today and at the same time he thanked all of the women in the room for their dedication in their communities.
“Each of these women has dedicated themselves towards helping others and they are role models and mentors for our next generation of leaders,” said Rendon during the event that also celebrated women’s history month.
“All of these women here have done a tremendous job in the community and all of them in one way or another are incredible, special and inspirational,” he emphasized.
Gloria Medina, coordinator from the Bell Chamber of Commerce and recipient of the award last year said that the recognition was very important because it inspired other women to do better and get involved in more activities in the community.
“This award is not only important because of the recognition of six women, but because it encouraged others to get involved to improve the community they live in,” said Medina.
“Also, it is a great opportunity to get to know the good and important things other women are doing without expecting being recognized, but because they really want to see a change in their community. Today is a great day and a great example for everyone, including the new generations.”
Raul Alvarez, district director from the assembly member said that the office received 33 nominations of women and the six who received the award were selected by nine committee members that represent all of the cities from District 63.