Tonawanda News — The Tonawanda News has named six women as the first installment of its 2013 class to be honored in the paper’s annual Women of Distinction program.
The News has also changed the format for this year’s publication. Where previously 12 women were honored, this year the paper will select six adults and six young adults — high school seniors who exemplify the traits honorees in past classes have shown.
Tonawanda News Publisher Peter Mio said the change in format was a natural outgrowth of what’s proven to be one of the paper’s most popular projects each year.
“Women of Distinction has always been about more than what these special ladies have done in the past,” Mio said. “The women we’ve honored since we started this program show a commitment to bettering our community for future generations. It made perfect sense for us to recognize the young women who embody that forward-looking ideal alongside them.”
This year’s adult honorees are:
• Laura Thomas of North Tonawanda. Thomas is a retired active duty member of the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard and is also an active member of several veterans groups in the city, including being the first female commander of the American Legion Stephen Sikora Post 1322.
• Barbara Stryz of North Tonawanda. Stryz is a dedicated community volunteer who’s active in numerous charitable groups including the Zontas, Business & Professional Women’s Association, the YWCA of the Tonawandas, the United Way of the Tonawandas, the Elks Club and the Exchange Club.
• Mary Brown, DeGraff Memorial Hospital’s director of nursing. The 38-year employee has risen through the ranks from nurse’s aide to the department’s top position while also serving as a representative for UNYTS and the New York State Alliance for Organ Donation.