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Women honored for heart and excellence

April 07, 2011

For 14 years the YWCA of Glendale has been honoring local women with “Heart & Excellence” Awards at Legacy Luncheons. And each year the honorees appear to become more “excellent.” Each had an opportunity to say a few words when presented with their award. Most touching were the remarks of honoree Lori Hartwell. Hartwell, author of “Chronically Happy-Joyful Living Despite Chronic Illness,” had her fourth kidney transplant just weeks ago. Having spent most of her life on dialysis treatment, the upbeat Hartwell recounted her journey to health. Her audience was all ears.

This year’s luncheon was held on March 31 at Burbank’s Castaway Restaurant in one its largest banquet halls. A reception with dozens of silent-auction baskets to bid on began the afternoon’s events. Word had it that a basket of hand-painted scarves donated by Ilene Blicker was the prize to go for. After the auction, event co-chairwomen Dr. Carol Ann Burton and Marilyn Gunnell welcomed approximately 200 supporters. Michaela Pereira, KTLA “Morning News” anchor, performed mistress of ceremony duties with style. Audience introductions were made by YWCA Board President Valerie Merritt, followed by remarks from the keynote speaker, organic-cooking guru Christina Avaness.

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But it was the awardees that everyone came to honor. Besides Hartwell, the other honorees were owner of Re/Max Elite Silva Hameline, longtime elementary school teacher Ann M. Herrmann, Immediate Past President of Glendale Healthy Kids Elizabeth Manasserian and Board President of the Glendale College Foundation Ellyn Semler. Both Manasserian and Semler have served on the YWCA board of directors.

The Jane O’Connor Community Service Volunteer Awards went to Flintridge Prep senior Casey Ann Meurer and John Burroughs High School senior Makhyla Arden Pelayo, both 17. Both students are leaders in youth philanthropy programs.

Expected proceeds of $25,000 will help fund YWCA’s programs, including ENCOREplus, an early-detection program for breast and cervical cancer for medically underserved women.

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