Her theme was “Together, we can make a difference.”
Susan B. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award winner Terri Wruck addressed that theme at the 31st annual awards dinner Friday night to a crowd of hundreds.
Wruck was honored with the marquee award at the sold-out event held at Madrigrano Marina Shores in Downtown Kenosha.
Wruck — manager of Snap-on Incorporated’s charitable contributions, manager/curator of the Snap-on museum, and a prolific community volunteer — was highlighted for her life’s dedication to women’s equality in Kenosha County and her extensive community work.
“Our world is better today than when Susan B. Anthony lived. But our job is not done until all women and all people have parity and equity in leadership roles, elected positions, boardrooms and any chosen profession. None of us do it alone,” she said. “So, you have my personal pledge and lifetime commitment that I will continue to stay in the struggle for equality and justice, with you … together making a difference.”
Lifetime achievement award
The Susan B. Anthony-Women of Influence Awards is held through the cooperative efforts of three women’s organizations in the Kenosha area: the Kenosha Women’s Network, AAUW-Kenosha (WI) Branch and Tempo Kenosha.
The event is sponsored by Snap-on Incorporated, the Kenosha Community Foundation’s Women’s Fund, the Mary Lou and Arthur F. Mahone Foundation, Gateway Technical College and the Southeast Wisconsin Labor Times.
The lifetime achievement award is named for Susan B. Anthony, a staunch supporter of equal rights for women. She was a well-known labor leader, publisher and suffragist who worked diligently for women’s equality.
“I am keenly aware of a sense of history this evening — of the iconic women who have stood here, blazing the trail that pale my accomplishments, including the exceptional women recognized this evening,” Wruck said.
She spoke of many who have helped shape her life, including family members, colleagues, educational and other community leaders, organizations and more.
Wruck stressed the importance of voting.
“I was born just 30 years after Congress ratified the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote. I like to vote. I encourage you to vote. It wasn’t that long ago that people risked their lives and went to prison for the privilege to vote,” she said.
In addition to her work at Snap-on, Wruck is co-chair of the Mahone Scholarship and Executive Committee and PowerUp. She was among the first women to join a Rotary Club and was later honored by the organization with an Outstanding Service and Dedication Award for bringing the “Choices Program” to Kenosha middle schools, which helped students explore potential outcomes before making decisions.
“My life has been enriched and purposeful because of community work and strong women who paved the way,” she said.
Wruck highlighted the importance of education.
“Education is crucial for improving outcomes. We are fortunate to have remarkable educational institutions and leaders,” she said, adding Kenosha County is home to Gateway Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and Carthage College which are “making a difference.”
Past recipients of the Susan B. Anthony Award Lifetime Achievement Award include: Saundra Yelton-Stanley; Camille Thibaudeau-Meyers; Anne Bergo; Barbara Kluka, JD; Frieda Schurch; Jennifer Fostel, PhD; Rosanna Ranieri, MD; Eunice Boyer, PhD; Katherine Marks; Terry Potente; Kay Wikel; Beverly Jambois, JD; Joan Wilk, PhD; Joyce Erickson; Natalie Troha; Adelene Greene; Florence Hammelev; Kathy Barth; Jane Harrington-Heide; Patricia Johnson; Debra Hertzberg; Roseann Shales; Guida Brown; Earlene Jornt Girman; Michelle Serpe; Connie Ferwerda; Joanne Rattan; Mary Wagner; Ellen Brookhouse; Betsy Brown; Gina Madrigrano Friebus; and Mary Lou Mahone (posthumously).
Women honored during ceremony
Others honored as Women of Influence awards night included Kenosha County Chief of Staff Jennie Tunkieicz, in the category of Business/Government/ Nonprofit; Sabrina Morgan, Promise/STEM Scholars Program coordinator, with Gateway Technical College, in the category of Arts/Education; and Kenosha County Deputy District Attorney Carli McNeil, as the Woman to Watch (Under 40) honoree.
“It is very meaningful. I’m very humbled,” Tunkieicz said. “I love Kenosha County. I grew up here, went to school here. I went to college here. My first job out of college was at the Kenosha News. I was there 11 years and then went to the Journal-Sentinel but never moved.”
Tunkieicz said when the opportunity to work for the county arose she “jumped on it.”
“I just love the county and the people here,” she said. “It’s not perfect, but I find that people do truly care about each other. We just need to talk to each other more.”
The 2022 scholarship winner was Francine Dibble, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside who is pursuing a degree in criminal justice.
Sharon Pomaville reacts as Guida Brown talks about her during the 30th Susan B. Anthony Woman of Influence Awards Dinner Friday. Pomaville, executive director of the Sharing Center, who was recognized for her role in a business, government or nonprofit organization.
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