Appreciation day for women in public service

Filed under DAYTONA BEACH

Stewart Memorial honors elected officials during annual Women’s Day

BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
DAYTONA TIMES

Elected and appointed officials throughout Volusia County flocked to Stewart Memorial United Methodist Church in Daytona Beach to celebrate its annual Women’s Day on Sunday.

Gwen Azama-Edwards, former Daytona Beach city commissioner and retired clerk (left) stands with Commissioners Paula Reed and Kelly White at the Women’s Day Service held at Stewart Memorial United Methodist Church.(ASHLEY THOMAS/DAYTONA TIMES)

Gwen Azama-Edwards, former Daytona Beach city commissioner and retired clerk (left) stands with Commissioners Paula Reed and Kelly White at the Women’s Day Service held at Stewart Memorial United Methodist Church.
(ASHLEY THOMAS/DAYTONA TIMES)

Senator Dorothy Hukill, past and present Volusia County Council members including Freddye Moore, Joyce Cusack and Patricia Northey, judges, school board members, mayors and city commissioners were all in attendance. Judy Reiker, Oretha Bell and Lynne Plaskett were honored for their service as well.

Daytona Beach City Commissioner Paula Reed was the keynote speaker and shared the importance of working together, noting that at the Women’s Day Service, women from multiple churches were able to come together and do just that – work together.

Many hats
“When you think of all that women do, she’s a chauffer, a gardener, sometimes a maintenance worker, more often a cleaning woman, a housekeeper, ‘Oh I got some umhmms, I see you all must know about that,” she said.  “A cook, sometimes the bookkeeper, the interior decorator, a caterer, often a psychiatrist, a secretary and sometimes a hostess.”

“Some of us have done one or two, three or four and many times at the same time.”

After reflecting on the many hats women wear in everyday life, Reed shared an article she read in a news- paper on the growth rate of women-owned businesses across the nation.

Raising them up
“I was looking at the newspaper this week, something elected officials are supposed to do, to see what we said, or what they said we said,” Reed said, which roused laughter from the crowd. “And what I found are women are starting companies at a fast pace. This newspaper out of New York shows that women-owned businesses are growing at a tremendous rate.

“If you go to work for a new business it is a good chance that you will be working for a woman. Between 1997 and 2014, the number of women-owned businesses in the United States rose 58 percent. Twice the growth rate for men. They are starting an estimated 1288 companies each day.

Each day, yes! Up from 602 in 2011 and 2012. Wow! Somebody is raising them up!”

In addition to female elected officials, other elected officials, including state Rep. Dwayne Taylor were in attendance.

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