Riverside County women considered standouts for their leadership and community activism were honored this week by the Board of Supervisors, who recognized a resident from each supervisorial district.
The Riverside County Commission for Women sponsors the annual Woman of the Year Awards, selecting recipients based on nominations received from the public. Thirty-seven nominations were submitted this year.
Here in the fifth district in The Pass, former two-term Banning Mayor Brenda Freeman was chosen for her work in local civic affairs, organizing toy drives for needy children and work with animals.
The board also recognized Freeman's work supporting military families and her recent efforts working on a film with PBS, which will detail the efforts of the United States government and family members to bring combat soldiers listed as missing in action home.
"I am honored to be recognized by the Board of Supervisors and Commission for Women," she told Patch. "I enjoy giving back to my community and it’s nice to be acknowledged by your peers for that work."
The honorees were:
- Lea Peterson, a resident of the First District and a Southern California Gas Company representative who has organized several charity events, including a benefit for victims of the 2008 wildfires;
- Tish Hughes, a resident of the Second District and a Hemet drug counselor who often volunteers her time to provide substance abuse counseling;
- Emily Shaw, an educator and resident of the Third District active in mentoring and organizing athletic events for girls;
- Amy Blaisdell, a resident of the Fourth District and communications director for the city of Palm Springs, as well as president of the nonprofit group Women Leaders Forum of the Coachella Valley; and
- Brenda Freeman, a former Banning mayor and resident of the Fifth District, active in many community activities.
The women were recognized alongside teenage girls in the commission's first Young Lady of the Year Awards.
The 30-minute ceremony included introductions, photographs and personal congratulations from each supervisor to each award recipient.
– City News Service contributed to this report.