Group of women honored for their impact on the community

Judith Krezmer, the YWCA's Wise Woman of the year, shares the evening with her brother, George and his wife, Terry, at banquet last night celebrating the Women of Excellence in the community. Around 170 people attended the event at the Williamsport Country Club.

Eight women who have made significant contributions to the community were honored Thursday night as this year’s YWCA “Women of Excellence,” but only one of them received the honor of being the “Wise Woman of the Year.”

Judith Krezmer, administrative director of Medical and Surgical services at UPMC Susquehanna was selected by past Wise Women honorees for the title. The other seven women were Dawn Astin, Susan Best, Laurie W. Burkholder, Stephanie Calder, Marianne DePasqua, Debra Griffin and Karen Zinobile. All of them were nominated by their peers for their work in the community.

In accepting the honor, Krezmer credited her mom with being her role model in giving back to the community.

“At a very young age she taught me to get involved, to give back, to help others,” Krezmer said. “She taught me to commit, to finish what I started, to be kind, to be honest, to work hard, to believe in myself and to always do what makes me happy.”

Krezmer, who had worked in the health care industry in the Philadelphia area, returned home to Williamsport to care for her parents during their life-ending illnesses.

“At the end of her too-short life she remained strong in the face of her illness. Through it all she never lost her sense of humor. She was always smiling, she would always do anything for anybody that she could and she was certainly a woman of excellence in her own right. So this recognition for me tonight is definitely a tribute to her as well,” she added.

Krezmer also spoke of the area employers who encouraged their employees to get involved in the community. She noted that she was encouraged to pick an organization in line with her personal passion.

“This immediate immersion and exposure to the social needs and volunteer opportunities within our local community was the catalyst for how initially got started 25-plus years ago,” she said.

She told the audience of about 170 people that the reason she chose to volunteer has been simple, “I had made a conscious choice to live my life based on the adage of ‘but for the grace of God go I.’ “

“This is what drives me, and this is what makes community volunteering personal, rewarding and meaningful for me because I have been very fortunate and blessed in my life,” she said. “Therefore volunteering for causes that support and help those in need help me pay it forward.”

In her work in the community, Krezmer has served on the boards of groups such as the Lycoming County United Way, the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and the American Cancer Society.

Also honored as the Young Woman of Excellence at the event was Maya Holmes, a senior at Williamsport Area High School.

This year marks the 10th year of the Women of Excellence program at the YWCA.