Six East Texas women were honored today during the Women in Tyler Luncheon.
Hundreds attended the sold-out event to pay tribute to women who have contributed to their community. This year's theme was "Women Who Care" and it brought together people from different social groups and professions who may not cross paths very often.
Women in Tyler began in 1999, and honoree Beverly Beavers Brooks has been helping charities like the East Texas Food Bank and the United Negro College fund.
"I'm just honored to be receiving this award today, just very thankful and grateful. I owe it all to my mom who was my inspiration and she taught me that I could be anything I want to be in life," Brooks said.
From the Women In Tyler Press Release:
The 2014 honorees are Beverly Beavers Brooks, Jennifer Carson, Jean Coleman, Verna Hall, Irma Rodriguez and Rebecca Taylor.
Beverly Beavers Brooks has spent her adult life working for the improvement of civil rights for women and minorities. For the last 14 years, she has served as the Regional Director of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor which covers five states. She retired to her hometown of Tyler and helped found the "All White Party With A Purpose," which raises money for local charities each Labor Day. Ms. Brooks is a graduate of Leadership Texas and has received many national and local awards for her many achievements.
Jennifer Carson moved to Tyler with her physician husband to lead the life of a wife and mother. The death of her infant baby in 1999 led her to start on a journey to create a place in Tyler where the lives of children would be celebrated. As word began to spread about plans for a Children's Park, Ms. Carson's friends, community leaders, church groups, clubs and other parents began to offer support for the project. By December 2002, the community raised enough money to purchase property on the corner of South Broadway Avenue and Dobbs Street, next to Hogg Middle School. The grand opening of The Children's Park was held Sept. 19, 2004. Ms. Carson currently serves as the president of the nonprofit, Children are a Gift Foundation, whose purpose is to celebrate the lives of all children, increase awareness, educate others and provide ways that family and friends can remember and celebrate the lives of their children.
Jean Coleman is a life-long caregiver who spent her professional life in nursing. She retired as the Chief Nursing Officer for Trinity Mother Frances Health System and Vice President for Patient Care Services. Her goal in life is to increase the number of minority nurses in the East Texas area. She founded the Greater East Texas Black Nurses Association, which has been instrumental in recruiting black nurses into the field. She was the recipient of numerous awards during her career including the Helen Farabee Leadership Award and Nurse of the Year. Ms. Coleman is a Fellow in the Johnson & Johnson-Wharton Program in Management for Nurse Executives.
Verna Hall has supported, fundraised or served as a board member of almost every good cause in Tyler during the many years she has lived here. To name just a few, she is the president of the East Texas Food Bank and the Tyler Museum of Art, serves on the Bethesda Health Clinic Board and on the East Texas Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. Ms. Hall has raised money and supported Habitat for Humanity, the East Texas Crisis Center, Heart of Tyler/Main Street, United Way of Tyler/Smith County, the University of Texas at Tyler and Tyler Junior College.
Irma Rodriguez is the executive assistant at the East Texas Food Bank and has served the Tyler community in many ways. She has served as the vice president of the East Texas Hispanic Leadership Council, is currently the secretary of the Hispanic Education Alliance, the community representative with the Tyler Independent School District Planning Committee and the Andy Woods PTA Board. She is a graduate of Leadership Tyler Class 22 and is a volunteer for the Bethesda Health Clinic and Habitat for Humanity.
Rebecca Taylor is a native of the Philippines and her personal journey for prosperity and independence led her to Tyler and into nursing more than 40 years ago. She was a nurse for many years before moving into the human resource department at East Texas Medical Center. When Typhoon Hiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013, Ms. Taylor volunteered with MercyWorks and traveled to her homeland to render medical care to the thousands in need.
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