Award Established By Assemblyman Colin Schmitt
Recognizes Decades of Service and Dedication
WOMEN OF DISTINCTION
By Edie Johnson
Seven local women are among sixteen in Orange County being honored this week in an award ceremony at the county’s Emergency Services Center for being “Women of Distinction.”
This is the inaugural year of awards for these extraordinary community contributors, the award being recently established by Assemblyman Colin Schmitt who hails from New Windsor. These women are being honored for being very special community contributors and leaders who went far above and beyond expectations of their official positions and over long periods of time. Their lengths of service have contributed to important aspects of “municipal memory”, and have been supportive of local services, businesses and the environment. They inspire others, promote the best of the goals of their communities with dedication and a great deal of hard work, not just in official positions but also contributing to fundraising efforts, grant research, finding options to solve community crises, establishing rapport with state, federal and other organizations and helping local families in need.
They are being honored as exemplifying what is considered by their Town and Village Boards as what we truly mean when we say “A Woman of Distinction”.
Johanna Kiernan is a well known and respected member of the Blooming Grove Community. She served on the Town Board as the Deputy Supervisor from January 2014 to December 2017. She is a member of the Mountain Lodge Park Fire Company’s Ladies Auxiliary. Johanna is an alternate on the Blooming Grove Planning Board. She is a member of the Glenwood Hill’s Resident Association & served as the Chairperson for the restoration of Tommie McDuffie Park. Johanna serves on the Blooming Grove Conservation Advisory Commission and is also involved with the National Heritage Project. She is an avid supporter of fine arts, and is often found helping and supporting many Community Events
Sonia Ayala has been an integral part of the Community for over 20 years. Even before becoming a Village in 2006, Sonia volunteered on the South Blooming Grove Homeowner’s Association and later on the Zoning Commission. Sonia continues to serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Village of South Blooming Grove and is a representative for Ward 4 in the Town of Blooming Grove. Sonia is an annual volunteer at Community Day, at the 9-11 Ceremony and at the annual Holiday Lighting. Sonia has a 35 year track record with various Wall Street Firms and she and her husband James have raised 2 children in the village.
Linda Standish has resided and worked in the Washingtonville area for more than 40 years. She has served as a Village Historian since 2004, and has provided support to Reference Library at Moffat Library. Linda has been coordinating the Wreaths Across America Program in town for the past 2 years. Linda has worked with the Jr. ROTC Honor Guard at Washingtonville Cemetery, and with local Boy Scout Troops to line the streets of Washingtonville with American Flags for Memorial and Veteran’s Day. Linda is a member of the Blooming Grove Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Washingtonville Kiwanis Club. During October Linda helps to facilitate Lantern Tours of the local Cemetery. Linda enjoyed a 30+ year career as a teacher of Grades 1 and 2 at Taft Elementary School.
Elizabeth “Betty Ann” Reilly was born and raised in Chester, and has remained a life-long resident. She is a Village Trustee, and Secretary to the Chester Fire District. Betty Ann was the Town Clerk for 25 years and the recipient of the Town Clerk of the Year award from the New York State Towns and Clerks Association. Prior to becoming the Town Clerk, Betty Ann worked as the Court Clerk -for the Village of Chester, and as the Deputy Village Clerk. Betty Ann works on the Memorial Day Flag Program with the local Boy Scout Troops, collecting donations for the flags that are placed along Main Street. On a humanitarian level Betty Ann selflessly donated her kidney to a local Chester resident when she learned of a young woman in need. Betty Ann was the recipient of The Everyday Hero Award by the Kiwanis Club.
Elizabety “Betty” Longinott has a long record of service to the Town of Cornwall, and has a special devotion to local senior citizens. Betty served as the Receiver of Taxes for over 30 years, and as a Town Council Member for 4 years. Betty has helped many seniors to see the world by working to facilitate senior trips throughout the United States and Europe; and always looked after the travelers to assure that they were enjoying their travels. Betty leads senior exercise programs in town, to help others feel their best. Betty has volunteered in the Town Recreation Department, and formerly worked as a clerk in the Building Department, assisting the building inspector, developers and residents. Betty is the President of the Golden Age Club and helps to organize parties and other activities for local seniors.
Vera Green Dixon has been a long term member of the Hamptonburgh community and a well known friendly face to many. Vera is a Deacon of The First Presbyterian Church of Hamptonburgh. She serves as the President of the ladies Auxiliary Otterkill Engine Company, and was the past Treasurer. For 20 years Vera led the Hamptonburgh Country Festival as Chairperson and Treasurer. She is an active member of the Hamptonburgh Senior’s Club, presently serving as Treasurer and was the former President. Vera is Vice President of the Orange county Senior Council. She is also President of the Women’s Bowling Association, and the NY Representative for Tri-State. Vera volunteers for the Meals for Seniors Program. Vera was the recipient of the Orange County Senior Citizen of the Year Award in 2017.
Pat Mullarkey has been a resident of New Windsor for 56 years and serves as the Deputy Town Supervisor. Pat has also been a Town Councilwoman since 1996. Pat has been a member of the Orange County Empire Zone, and a past member of its Executive Zone Board. Pat has served as a Liason to the Town Recreation Dept, and serves as the Co-chairwoman of the Special Events Committee. Pat serves as the Chairwoman of the New Windsor’s Friendly Visitors Program, and a Trustee of the National Temple Hill Association. Pat has served on the Facilities Steering Committee for Newburgh Schools. She is a 55 year Member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, and a member of Sacred Heart Church.