YWCA honors ‘remarkable’ Women of Excellence

Celebrating those in the community who give their time, efforts and skills to help others, the YWCA Northcentral PA honored a dozen women during the fifth annual Tribute to Women of Excellence Thursday night.

Beth McMahon, founder and president of the Favors Forward Foundation, was honored as the night’s Wise Woman of the Year. Favors Forward helps those going through hardships by supplying them tools, opportunities and supplies when needed.

More than 300 families are helped each year by the organization.

Diane Glenwright, executive director of the YWCA, said that McMahon’s compassion made her a perfect person to receive the honor, going as far as saying “When I grow up, I want to be Beth McMahon.”

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award,” Glenwright said.

But before McMahon could be recognized, three special guests – her husband, Frank, and daughters, Mary and Christina – arrived to give insight on exactly what its like to spend time with her, talking about how she encourages them to do chores and how influential she is in daily life.

When accepting the award, McMahon explained that her successes not only are hers, but everyone she works with.

“I’m not very wise, but I’m really good at surrounding myself with wise people,” she said.

While focusing on bad news may be easier, McMahon said she chooses to focus on the good things in life – a lesson she learned from her mother’s daily question of the good things that happened each day after school.

McMahon said Favors Forward has given her a “front seat to the goodness in this community.”

She added that each person’s “time, talent and treasures” are to be used for others, not kept for just the individual.

“Wealth is not in what you have, but in what you give away,” she said.

The night also honored ten women who also have given their time and efforts to others in need by honoring them as Women of Excellence.

The group included those involved in education, community organizations and non-profits, among others.

Those received this honor were: Radecka Appiah-Padi; Christina L. Herman; Gail A. Leidhecker; Dawn M. Linn; Frances Mileto Pfaff; Rosann Pelleschi; Ann F. Plankenhorn; Jennifer L. Rhea; Carolyn Strickland; and Melanie Taormina.

In understanding that, despite still being a student, all women have something to offer, the YWCA presented the Young Woman of Excellence award for the first time Thursday night. Jennifer Jackson, a senior at South Williamsport Area High School, received the honor.

Jesse Smith, high school principal, spoke about Jackson’s various activities and academic successes. He added that he hopes that his daughters have her character when they are her age.

Glenwright said that she was “humbled” to see the work of all of these women and said they all should be role models for those in the community.

She added that the fact that there always are more women to honor each year shows how strong and giving the community is.