Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues Announces Annual Honorees, Presents Lifetime Contribution Award

March 2, 2017

To mark Women’s History Month, the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues today honored 18 women for their contributions in making their communities better places to live. 

The Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award, renamed in 2010 in Montes’ honor as a way to recognize her work on behalf of the women and girls of Cook County, is presented to one woman from each of the County’s 17 legislative districts and one from the County at-large. The Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues receives input from the individual districts to identify exceptional nominees whose work is seldom recognized.  

“We are pleased to recognize and acknowledge this year’s Cook County’s Unsung Heroines -- 18 women whose strength, resilience and sacrifice to better their communities inspire us all,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who helped present the awards. 

Recipients of the 2017 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award are:

  • Savonya L. Rogers, 1st District
  • Gretchen Slusser, 2nd District
  • Vanessa L. McNorton, 3rd District
  • Angela Hurlock, 4th District
  • Tina Sanders, 5th District
  • Stella Hernandez, 6th District
  • Idalia Flores Guzmán, 7th District
  • Carmen Medina, 8th District
  • Mary Ann Miller, 9th District
  • Patrice Quehl, 10th District
  • Pamela Munizzi, 11th District
  • Cari A. Meyers, 12th District
  • Josefina Alvarez, 13th District
  • Mary Beth Beiersdorf, 14th District
  • Laurie Stone, 15th District
  • Kathy Donahue-Coia, 16th District
  • Rebecca Lerfelt, 17th District
  • Joyce A. Chapman, At-Large

During the ceremony, Merri Dee, longtime Chicago media personality who has traditionally emceed the event, was presented with a Lifetime Contribution Award for her tireless work on behalf of women and children.

“Those of us who know Merri’s life story are humbled at her continued work for the greater good,” Preckwinkle said. “So today, at the beginning of Women’s History Month, we are honored to present Merri Dee with a Lifetime Contribution Award, and to say ‘thank you’ for all she has done.”