Sen. Archuleta Recognizes 2022 Women of Achievement for 32nd Senate District – Cerritos Community News

The 32nd District Woman of the Year, with them is Se. Bob Archuleta (D) Pico Rivera.

March 28, 2022

WITTER, APPROX – To mark the end of Women’s History Month, Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) hosted the 32nd Senate District Women of Achievement 2022 on Saturday, March 26, 2022 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Whittier.

This event, which is the Senator’s Office’s first in more than two years, celebrated the accomplishments of 11 women who have contributed to the well-being of their respective communities within the district.

“These women were nominated for their outstanding hard work and dedication to the district during the ongoing public health crisis,” Senator Archuleta said. “Our district is fortunate to call home a large number of women who make significant contributions to their families, jobs and individual communities, and we are honored to recognize these leaders for sharing the strength and ability of all women in our Senate district.”

The 2022 Women of Achievement of the 32nd Senate districts are:

Virginia “Ginny” Ball, nominated by City of Whittier Business Development Manager Katie Galvin-Surbatovic.

Ginny serves on the board of directors for a variety of local non-profit organizations, including her ongoing work on behalf of Whittier First Day, a Whittier transitional housing organization. First Day is serving approximately 2,300 people with critical social services, making them a beacon of hope for many displaced during the Covid-19 pandemic. During her time on the board of directors of the Whittier Area Chamber, Ginny founded the Whittier Apartment Owners Association, which brings landlords and tenants together to better understand their rights, discuss effective laws and identify local resources. As such, it has become a go-to resource for people dealing with housing issues during the pandemic.

Blanca Curiel, nominated by daughter Okxana Vega.

Blanca enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1983 at the age of just 17 and rose through the ranks to become a Master Sergeant, where she served as the battalion’s first sergeant and oversaw a battalion of 400 soldiers. After a 33-year military career serving her country, Blanca is now working in healthcare. She sees it as a continuation of her military service, using the organizational skills she learned in the army to care for the seniors she cares for. Her work was even more important during the pandemic as Blanca assisted seniors with their day-to-day care and kept them company.

dr Rosalba González, nominated by Los Angeles Unified School District Teacher James Ng

Rosalba exemplifies the American Dream, having immigrated from Mexico as a young adult and overcoming barriers and obstacles to become an educator.

Her career in education has included teaching, counseling, vice-principal and is currently Principal at Hilda L. Solis Learning Academy, where she is deeply committed to making a positive difference in the lives of her students. During the pandemic, Rosalba has made it a priority to remain focused on a positive school culture, setting high expectations for administrators, teachers and students, while engaging the community.

Cathy Houwen, nominated by Puente Hills Habitat Preservation Authority Executive Director Andrea Gullo.

During the pandemic, Cathy’s work as a funeral director at the Community Funeral Service in La Habra was focused on ensuring grieving families are treated with dignity as they say goodbye to loved ones. She and her colleagues worked long hours with rare days off to meet the demands of funeral services during the height of the pandemic. Cathy has been a volunteer on the Puente Hills Habitat Preservation Authority Community Advisory Committee for 10 years and represents the City of La Habra Heights, where she served as Chair for three years.

Isis Huckins, nominated by Rose Hill’s Director of Community Relations & Communications Antoinette Lou.

Throughout her career, Isis has worked quietly behind the scenes while placing loved ones in the care of Professional Service at Rose Hills. She and her team ensure that members of each family are treated with the utmost respect and care. Over the past two years, Isis and her team have been extremely challenged to meet the needs of the community during the pandemic. She and her team worked 24 hours a day to ensure each loved one received appropriate care and each family could proceed with a dignified funeral.

Shannon Kolbjornsen, nominated by Rose Hill’s Director of Community Relations & Communications Antoinette Lou.

Shannon has been serving families in the funeral industry for over 15 years. Throughout her career she has assisted families in making funeral arrangements and providing visiting/funeral services for their loved ones. In recent years her team at Rose Hills has continued to serve families to the best of their ability whilst complying with various Covid requirements. As our community required an increasing demand for funeral services, Shannon trained her team to meet the demands without diminishing the honor or respect shown to each family.

Michelle Lynch, nominated by La Mirada City Mayor Ed Eng.

During the many challenges brought on by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Michelle has led by example and shown the community that this is the time to come together and help one another. As a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain since 2011, she has continued to play a vital role in keeping the community safe by hosting virtual Neighborhood Watch meetings and safe in-person meetings. She also hosted the La Mirada Heroes Dinner to recognize the work of first responders during the pandemic.

dr Irella Perez, nominated by education activists Dr. James Vigil and Polly Vigil.

Irella’s journey from non-English speaking immigrant to school administrator, education advocate, environmentalist and children’s book author is a quintessentially American story of self-reliance fueled by perseverance, passion and conviction. Irella was one of many community leaders providing vital support to parents and students during the pandemic. Irella, along with her peers on the Whittier City School Board, took the lead to ensure quality education and mental health services for students while in distance learning.

Katrina Rodriguez, RN BSN, nominated by PIH Health Whittier Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Ramona Pratt.

Katrina is Clinical Director, General Medicine/Respiratory Care at PIH Health Whittier Hospital. Through exemplary leadership, Katrina led the primary Covid-19 unit through the last three pandemic outbreaks, working with multidisciplinary teams to ensure patient needs are always at the forefront of care. She led efforts to create communications plans for PIH Health’s primary Covid-19 unit. The plan ensures families can stay in touch and are kept up to date on the condition of their loved ones through Zoom visits and daily update calls to a designated patient representative.

Sarah Templeton nominated by Biola University Vice President for Student Development Andre Stephens, Ph.D.

Sarah is the Director of Biola University’s Student Health Center. During her 20+ years at Biola, she has built strong working relationships with people inside and outside the university. As a member of Biola’s Covid-19 compliance team, she has kept the campus updated with new data, research and changing protocols during the pandemic. Sarah instituted health and safety protocols to quarantine infected and exposed students while working with county officials to manage outbreaks, source testing supplies and help clarify protocols. As vaccines became available, Sarah was able to secure them and offer on-campus immunization clinics for students and staff, and eventually community members.

Echo Tsai nominated by Venerable Hui Dung.

Echo has devoted significant time to volunteering at Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple since 1997 and the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) since 2001. Echo’s main practice in life is to help others and serve the needs of the community by organizing activities and coordinating events. These include senior citizen programs, a student scholarship event and the distribution of personal protective equipment to hospitals, law enforcement, fire stations, nursing homes, churches, schools, homeless shelters and nonprofits.

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