Wesley Celebrates Strong Women
Wesley Medical Center recently honored Pine Belt-area women who have exemplified qualities in the categories of defender, leader, mentor, perseverance, and promise at the sixth annual Celebration of Strong Women luncheon at Lake Terrace Convention Center.
Susan Steadman, Iola Williams, Sichana Jean, Meri Newell and Emily Elledge received the top honor in each category. The event was presented by Wesley Medical Center, Comcast Spotlight, Lifetime Television for Women, Women's Pavilion of South Mississippi and Lights Jewelers and Gemologists.
“The Pine Belt is home to a tremendous number of women who are every day heroes,” says Traci Rouse, vice-president of marketing for Wesley Medical Center. “This is our way of saying thank you and acknowledging the efforts and contributions of these women.”
Steadman, a Hattiesburg attorney, won the defender category. "Susan has dedicated much of her life advocating for foster children,” said Jackie Kirkpatrick, who nominated her. Others nominated in the defender category include Wanda Bennett, Angela Davis-Morris, Marion Fowler, Sunday Holmes, Annie Jackson, and Megan Peak.
Williams, a Hattiesburg Convention Commissioner, won the leadership category. "She has lived in and traveled to more countries than many can only dream of, “says Lindy Garry, her nominator. “More specifically, she has made a difference is every place she lived.” Others nominated in the leadership category include Judy Allen, Lisa Cochran, Barbara Hamilton, Lisa Jarrell, Jackie Kellar, Bessie Mackabee, Tonya Madison, Laurie McCarty, Barbara McGilvery, Patricia McPhail, Martha Morris, Cynthia Posey, Betsy Rowell, and Beth Turner.
A social worker at Bethany Christian Services, Sichana Jean, won the mentor category. “She cares for women facing unplanned pregnancies by showing them love and compassion,” says Sarah Atkinson, her nominator. “She is doing everything in her power to create strong women out of everyone that God brings into her path.” Others nominated in the mentor category include Helen Barnes, Kristen Benigno, Lisa Cagle, Calmeter Clark, Eleana Cochran, Martha Cohens, Louise Cubley, Josephine D’Apra, Willie Evans, Terry Fleming, Meria Hollingsworth-Jones, Carolyn Jones-Primeaux, Kathy Kahler, Sandra Kinnan, April Lazenby, Martha Lee, Sharon Lott, Lynn McCarver, Clemmie Nelson-Morgan, Sherry Parker, and Carolyn Patterson.
A teacher at Jones County Junior College, Meri Newell, won the perseverance category. “She is a constant source of inspiration to the students and faculty at JCJC,” says Matt Pickering, who nominated her. “The strength she has shown through her battles with Lupus and breast cancer has had a powerful effect on those around her.” Others nominated in the perseverance category include Martha Bounds, Linda Caraway, Stephanie Carr-McGhee, Victoria Fokakis, Michelle Gibbs, Kim Gingell, Violet Henderson, Margaret Lafon, Jackie Lee, Debbie Lott, Alethea Pierce, Judy Pitts, Hannah Poole, Carol Singleton, Bridget Smith, Virginia Smith, Amanda Spiers, Valeda Tagert, Clara Ugwu-Dike, and Lynn Walters.
Emily Elledge won the promise category, which recognized young women between the ages of 14 - 18 who demonstrate a commitment to high personal standards. At age 14, she decided she wanted to write a children’s book about a penguin who believed in his dreams of flight. The next year, she decided to publish “Philip Takes Flight” with all proceeds going to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children. “Her book carries the lesson of self-acceptance and believing that nothing is impossible,” says her nominator Cathryn Parker. She reminds children that if they believe, they can achieve…just like Philip did.” Others nominated in the promise category include Savannah Bynum, Kate Dearman, Marisa Harris, Nicolet Hopper, Victoria King, Sydney Massengale and Kimberly Murray.
Pictured below are winners: (L-R) Susan Steadman, Sichana Jean, Iola Williams, Meri Newell, and Emily Elledge