YONKERS, N.Y. – Yonkers paid tribute to a group of women Tuesday who were called “local heroes” for improving the lives of others.
Five women, including a nurse and a charitable entrepreneur, were honored for their selflessness as they were presented with the city’s first-ever Women of Distinction Awards.
A standing-room only crowd packed into the Ceremonial Courtroom on the fourth floor of City Hall to watch Diane Santavicca, Maria Neto, Carrie Pataky, Marla Hurban and Helen Henkel accept the honors.
“You make our community better. You make it succeed,” City Council Majority Leader Wilson Terrero told the group. “That’s what we need in Yonkers. And I think the city is better because of you.”
Tuesday’s ceremony was part of the nationally recognized Women’s History Month celebration. While the month of March typically recognizes the historic accomplishments of women, Tuesday was Yonkers’ turn to pay tribute to the local heroes and leaders who live among us each day, said Mayor Mike Spano.
“These women have demonstrated excellence, leadership and integrity within their community, serving as role models for successful women all across our nation,” he said.
Among the recipients was Pataky, a specialist in the field of micro-pigmentation who helps women recover from breast cancer. Pataky said her work, as the last stage of the recovery process for many women, is deeply rewarding.
“It’s something I can’t explain, how it feels and the reward I feel internally,” she said. “To get an award for it, knowing the reward I feel, is just beyond words.”
Hurban, director of Intergenerational Programs at JCY-Westchester Community Partners, Yonkers Middle High School PTSA President and pancreatic cancer awareness advocate, said she was honored to receive the recognition.
“I have to say I am truly humbled,” she said.