Two women -- one from Artesia, the other from Cerritos -- were among nine local women honored by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia during the 2013 Women of the Year luncheon at the Cerritos Library on Monday.
The group of distinguished women were recognized for service to their communities - one from each city that comprises the 58th Assembly District.
“While these women come from very different backgrounds they all have one important thing in common – giving back to their communities,” Assemblymember Garcia said.
Representing the cities of Artesia and Cerritos at the March 25 event were Susie Gomes and Katherine Chu, respectively.
Susie Gomes Honored as Woman of the Year for City of Artesia
Born and raised in the city of Artesia, Susie Gomes is a proud wife for over 13 years and a mother to two girls. She is a long-standing member of the Portuguese community and a devout employee at Artesia City Hall. Gomes is very active with Artesia D.E.S., which is very involved in bringing community events to Artesia as well as introducing the rich Portuguese culture andtraditions to its residents. Additionally, she plays an integral role in the annual Carnaval de Artesia, a theatrical group that puts on a different play and travels throughout California.
As her Neighborhood Watch’s captain, Gomes also works closely with the Lakewood Sheriff’s Department (which serves the city of Artesia), keeping both the Department and her neighbors aware of each other’s needs. She is always eager to help her community and peers in any way possible. By bringing awareness to the American Cancer Association in the Artesia/Cerritos region, Gomes has organized several groups for Relay for Life, raising the most funds in the region.
Katherine Chu Honored as Woman of the Year for City of Cerritos
Being a parent to a child with autism has driven Katherine Chu to become a passionate volunteer and an advocate for more than 50 families, helping families of children with special needs become more independent and productive citizens.
Chu and her eagerness led to the creation of Cerritos CARES (Community Advocates for Adaptive Recreation, Education & Support), which informs families about resources and advocates on issues affecting the community. In turn, CARES joined with the City of Cerritos in creating a resource person that coordinates recreational, social and volunteer opportunity for Cerritos residents with disabilities.
She has served on the Special Olympics of Southeast Los Angeles Board of Directors and earned the Gold Medal Club award for her outstanding volunteer work in recruiting volunteers, planning and organizing sporting events and fundraisers. In 2011, the Lazy Dog Café in Cerritos also recognized Katherine for her philanthropic work with the Special Olympics.
When not taking her son to swim meets, Chu keeps busy with managing the strong network of families she has helped throughout the years.
Others Honored in the 58th District
The other 2013 Woman of the Year awardees included:
- Rita Lara of Bellflower
- Martha Cabral of Bell Gardens
- Sandra Jimenez of Commerce
- Dr. Mary Stauffer of Downey
- Kathy Brendzal of Montebello
- Eileen Sandoval of Norwalk
- April Saucedo Hood of Pico Rivera
“Women have always been the backbone of our communities, focusing on getting things done,” Garcia said. “These are extraordinary women, who serve their communities in extraordinary ways and I am proud to recognize each of them as the Woman of the Year."
Joining Assemblymember Garcia in honoring the group of women was Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-Lakewood) and City Council members from all of the nine cities who introduced the awardees from their respective cities.
The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens,Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.
DO YOU KNOW EITHER OF THESE WOMEN? WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE YOUR WELL WISHES FOR THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS?