2017 YES Magazine Woman of the Year Awards Dinner

Three women of the community are honored and recognized as the true role models they are.

Ashley McCord, Managing Editor

Thursday, October 26, The Daily Journal hosted the third annual YES Magazine Woman of the Year Awards Dinner. The dinner was focused around supporting and honoring women of the area that have gone on to do above and beyond what is expected of them. Three women in particular were honored at the event; Vurnice Maloney, Sandra Knight, and Brooke Payne. Woman of the Year was given to Vurnice Maloney, as Sandra Knight and Brooke Payne were the two finalists. All three spoke about their lives, aspirations, and what they have done to benefit our community.

2003 Miss America and Republican candidate for Illinois attorney general, Erika Harold, was invited to speak at the event. Harold spoke words of encouragement to students of Bishop McNamara, BBCHS, and Kankakee High School in hopes of encouraging them to overcome any obstacles or hardships they are dealt. Harold proceeded to explain how she was bullied as a youth while attending school to the point where she had to leave for her own safety. With the success Harold achieved in her later years, her story was both heartfelt and inspiring.

After the dinner concluded, Harold spoke to four students of BBCHS, Camryn BeDell, Ashley McCord, Patricia Njoroge, and Grace Pallissard, of whom all attended the event and had the honor to share some of their own personal stories. When asked about being selected as the guest speaker Harold responded, “Speaking to everyone and you girls here was one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done.” Harold told the girls that they can do and achieve anything they strive for and that some day she hopes to see them being honored at a similar event.

Women are doing great things in the community and around the world. Next year, keep an eye out for the rising women to be honored! Congratulations to the winner and the two finalists!