Night Honors Women’s Contributions to Community

Night Honors Women’s Contributions to Community

Ten women were recognized by the Commission for Women for their contributions to the Alexandria community at the Salute to Women Awards at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Monday, March 31.

The evening began with dedications to both Vola Lawson and Ruthanne Lawson, two community members who received awards posthumously. Both dedications were presented by Sen. George L. Barker (D-39), Del. Charniele Herring (D-46) and Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45). NBC News4 Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey hosted the evening and Commission for Women chair Camille Leverett welcomed the audience and acknowledged those who contributed to the success of the ceremony.

Lodato was praised for her contributions to the artistic community. Lodato, who was fatally shot in February, was a music teacher in Alexandria and the founder of Music Together. She received the Donna Bergheim Cultural Affairs Award from Maria Bergheim and Beth Bergheim Silver. It was accepted by her daughter Lucia Lodato and husband Norman Lodato.

Lawson was awarded the Susan Lowell Butler Lifetime Achievement Award. Lawson’s sons, McArthur and Peter Lawson, accepted the award, presented by Jim Butler. Lawson was honored for her dedication to women’s well-being and equality. Lawson was the first woman city manager of Alexandria and an inspiration for women and girls in the community.

Others honored included Joan Renner (Leadership in Business and Career Development), Amy Creed (Making a Difference), Cynthia Skinner (Rising Star), Nancy Martinez (Youth Community Service — youth), Joyce Rawlings (Youth Community Service — adult), Jen Walker (Marguerite Payez Leadership), Jean Kelleher (Marian Van Landingham Legislation and Public Policy) and Wendy Webb (Vola Lawson). These women were selected by the Commission for Women, an independent body appointed by the City Council. Proceeds from the evening will support Alexandria’s Sexual Assault Center and other initiatives of the Friends of the Alexandria Commission for Women. For more information, visit