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October 16, 2013

News recognizes 2013 Women of Distinction


Tonawanda News — “It was great getting to know all the other Women of Distinction,” she said. 

Mary Brown, director of nursing at DeGraff Memorial Hospital, the first adult honoree to address the crowd, noted that seeing the accomplishments of the teenagers inducted as Women of Distinction, gave her “great hope for our country and our future.” Brown, who has worked at DeGraff for 27 years, said she wanted to be a nurse since she was a little girl. 

“Nursing has always been a passion for me,” she said. “The most important part for me is to make a difference.” 

Natalie Brown, 25, who was the youngest adult honoree, was chosen for launching Project 308 Gallery along Oliver Street last year and credited for the organization’s impact along the once-vibrant thoroughfare. 

Barbara Strzyz, a YWCA board member well-known for her fundraising savvy for the organization among a host of others, was also selected along with Dr. Raquel Martin, chief of emergency room services at Kenmore Mercy Hospital. Martin was called instrumental in getting the hospital’s stroke center accredited as well as heading its new emergency room expansion.  

Laura Thomas, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. National Guard who served as North Tonawanda’s first female commander of the Sikora American Legion Post last year, was also recognized along with Kate White, founder of the City of Tonawanda Kids’ Fishing Derby and Rockin’ With Santa. 

“I think it’s a great honor,” White said of the Women of Distinction selection. “Everything I do is for the kids.” 

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115. 

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