Dr. Stauffer among 'Women of the Year' honorees

DOWNEY - Downey's Dr. Mary Stauffer and Norwalk's Eileen Sandoval were two of the nine "inspiring women of distinction and service" representing their respective cities who were honored Monday by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia at a special Women's Month luncheon held at the Cerritos Library."Woman of the Year" honors also went to Susie Gomes of Artesia, Rita Lara of Bellflower, Martha Cabral of Bell Gardens, Katherine Chu of Cerritos, Sandra Jimenez of Commerce, Kathy Brendzal of Montebello, and April Saucedo Hood of Pico Rivera. The nine cities where the distinguished honorees have made their generous influence felt comprise the cities of the 58th Assembly District, now represented by Garcia, who paid tribute to the nine awardees by saying, "While these women come from different backgrounds they all have one important thing in common - giving back to their communities." Joining Garcia in honoring the group was special guest speaker U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood) and City Council members from all of the nine cities who introduced the awardees from their respective vantage points. In her remarks, Sanchez decried the disproportionate number of women members in Congress and wished that more women assume more leadership roles, that more options get open to them in every walk of life. Recipient of a multitude of awards over the years, the 95-year old Dr. Stauffer was cited especially for establishing her foundation, the Mary R. Stauffer Foundation, which focuses on community philanthropy. The foundation is credited with contributing millions of dollars toward projects, grants and scholarships, all dealing with education. Downey Councilmember Roger Brossmer, who presented Dr. Stauffer to the sizable luncheon crowd, mentioned some of her projects including the Downey High science building, the West Middle School Cyberonics lab, and her numerous scholarships and grants for Downey students, and otherwise summed up her impact to the community as "immeasurable." Also participating in the ceremony were Downey Councilmember Alex Saab and Mary R. Stauffer Foundation executive director Linda Kennedy. Eileen Sandoval, a resident of Norwalk since 1971, is director of Men & Women of Faith International, which provides "spiritual guidance and seminars," and, for organizing numerous charitable events out of concern for the "less fortunate" as well throughout Los Angeles County, was cited for her impact on the lives of the "often forgotten." Active in Faith International's "His Nesting Place," her role in helping young women who are pregnant and have "no place to go" was highlighted, even as she tries to help these moms in finishing their education and finding employment.

********** Published: March 28, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 50