Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines Award

Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines Award 25th Anniversary March 10, 2022, 10 - 11:15 am, virtual event, watch live at
Service Information

About the award
As an annual event in observance of Women’s History Month, Cook County presents the Unsung Heroine Award to 18 women, one from each district of Cook County and one county-wide, whose contributions to their communities, families and professional endeavors have been so vital, but seldom recognized. This award, consistent with the purpose of Women's History Month, is designed to recover and tell the story of the powerful impact women have had throughout history on the development of our social, cultural, economic and political institutions. In this spirit, the County honors these remarkable women as a way to bring their stories to light, to thank them and to celebrate the achievements of the many women through the history of Cook County whom they represent.

About the award name
Peggy A. Montes served as Chairperson of the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues. An educator, fundraiser, leader, and champion of women’s issues and rights, Montes was the driving force behind the very first Unsung Heroine Award for the women of Cook County. On March 16, 2010, the Cook County Board of Commissioners and members of the Commission on Women’s Issues renamed the award in Montes’s honor as a way of recognizing her remarkable achievements on behalf of women and girls. 

2022 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines of Cook County

The 2022 nominees will be announced on March 10, 2022 at 10am. Watch live at

Carlisa N. Thomas, At-large

Crystal E. Gardner, District 1

Asiaha Butler, District 2

Annette Nance-Holt, District 3

Belle K. McClandon, District 4

Virgil Jackson, District 5

Lamekia Davis, District 6

María Esparza, District 7

Rosario Villalobos, District 8

Arielle Strauss, District 9

Eva Panczyk, District 10

Kathleen Cavallone Turney, District 11

Willie Shaw, District 13

Michelle Valiukenas, District 14

Dominice LaPorte, District 15 

Jamie Kucera, District 16

Donna Adam, District 17


2021 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines of Cook County

Sameka Ducette Gates, At-large  

Debra Vines, 1st District

Sheila Jackson McNary, 2nd District

Barbara Ellzey, 3rd District

Linda Blair, 4th District

Vanessa Brown, 5th District

Jacquelyne Underwood, 6th District

Nury Ortega, 7th District

Diana Mireles, 8th District

Mary Lio, 9th District

Killian C. Walsh, 10th District

Sarah Dynia, 11th District

Marci Sieracki, 12th District

Jane Balaban, 13th District

Amy Oberholtzer, 14th District

Mary Jo Imperato, 15th District

Elva Serna, 16th District

Josephine Coleman, 17th District

2021 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Awards Program Book


2020 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines of Cook County

Diara Brooks, At-large


Phyllis M. Logan, 1st District

Dr. Carrol Collum, 2nd District

La Shawn Stanton, 3rd District

Lanette Warbington, 4th District

Lorena Varela, 5th District

Mia Carter, 6th District

Sandra Mendez, 7th District

Janece Ortiz, 8th District

Dr. Carolyn V. Kirschner, 9th District

Colleen Martin, 10th District

Gerri Neylon, 11th District

Carolina Brueck, 12th District

Kathy Tate-Bradish, 13th District

Agnes I. Wojnarski,M.D., 14th District

Sherrine Peyton, 15th District

Nadine Boyle, 16th District

Nancy Mott, 17th District


2019 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines of Cook County

Nazneen Hashmi, At-large

Bobbie Jean Ward, 1st District

Anne Gordon, 2nd District

Erin Toole Williams, 3rd District

Julia A. Hunter, 4th District

Lori J. Wilcox, 5th District

Dannen Rose, 6th District

Ilda Hernandez, 7th District

Ashley Novoa, 8th District

Dorothy Malachowski, 9th District

Joyce Dugan, 10th District

Amy McNicholas, 11th District

Janet Giangrasse, 12th District

Karen Chavers, 13th District

Stephanie Zwilling, 14th District

Joane McLeod, 15th District

Judith De La Mora-Macias, 16th District



2018 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines of Cook County

Esther Wong, At-large

Charmaine V. Rickette, 1st District

Clemente "Tina" Hardaway, 2nd District

Robin Pratts, 3rd District

Nyota T. Figgs, 4th District

Kelley D. Nichols-Brown, 5th District

Karen O'Dea, 6th District

Maria R. Raygoza, 7th District

Kate Maehr, 8th District

Kara Blomquist, 9th District

Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, 10th District

Modie Lavin, 11th District

Linda P. Mellis, 12th District

Emily Williams Guthrie, 13th District

Peggy Babcock, 14th District

LaTasha Unseld, 15th District

ShaunTe Raines, 16th District



2017 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines of Cook County

Joyce A. Chapman, At-large

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


2016 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines of Cook County

Sabrina Herrell, At-large

Annie Marie Ford, 1st District

Fran Bell, 2nd District

Paula Anglin, 3rd District

Christel D. Ward, 4th District

Lorez Davis, 5th District

Maurice Fitts Page, 6th District

Linda Coronado, 7th District

Beti Guevara, 8th District

Maureen Perez, 9th District

Jackie Taylor, 10th District

Rita Ryan, 11th District

Alexis Mansfield, 12th District

Gloria Iverson, 13th District

Henrietta Saunders, 14th District

Victoria Poklop, 15th District

Elizabeth Cabral-Arreola, 16th District

Maureen Reilly, 17th District


2015 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines of Cook County

Aisha Chaudry, At-large

Cherita Logan, 1st District

Apostle Carolyn Vessel, 2nd District

Cassandra Melton, 3rd District

Rev. Lillie M. Cullar, 4th District

Angelia Smith, 5th District

Jean Bernstein, 6th District

Gina Gamboa Pacheco, 7th District

Laurie Jo Reynolds, 8th District

Kristy Capoccia-Caeti, 9th District

Mary Zeien, 10th District

Kerry Lynch, 11th District

Beth Valukas, 12th District

Lydia Vivas, 13th District

Pat Peterson, 14th District

VersAnnette Blackman, 15th District

Carrie Zalewski, 16th District

Cynthia Frymark, 17th District


2014 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines of Cook County

Annamaria Joyce V. Leon, At-large

Dawn Ferencak, 1st District

Elizabeth Okey, 2nd District

Felicia Stanton, 3rd District

Katherine Wallace, 4th District

Jamell Meeks, 5th District

Beverly Beaty, 6th District

Dolores Castañeda, 7th District

Maria Teresa Roman, 8th District

Teresa Giannini, 9th District

Amanda Malsch, 10th District

Maureen Shields, 11th District

Elizabeth Mills, 12th District

Tricia Edwards, 13th District

Courtney Renwick, 14th District

Michelle Pilafas, 15th District

Tracey Rouso, 16th District

Terri O'Neill Borders, 17th District