BELLEVILLE, NJ — Emerging poets, advocates for children with special needs, youth sports coaches and other amazing women were recognized for their many contributions to Belleville and beyond in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8.
The highlight of the township’s annual celebration came when Belleville’s Spirit of Empowerment Award was given to Stacy Quinn, who became a tireless advocate for stroke survivors after surviving a stroke herself seven years ago. Quinn created www.mystrokeofhope.com to bring awareness, education and an uplifting message about stroke survivors.
Quinn and 10 other women were honored at the March 8 Township Council meeting, where Deputy Mayor Naomy DePeña introduced each woman.
“I love telling the stories of women because I believe we do things many times not for the recognition,” she said. “We are unsung heroes. We hold together the homes. We hold together the marriages, the children. We kiss boo-boos. We bring the bacon home and we cook it. We do so much. My goal is to celebrate you, to let you know that what you do is seen.”
Quinn was chosen for Belleville’s Spirit of Empowerment Award by last year’s International Women’s Day honorees.
Quinn speaks about stroke awareness on local radio programs, delivers keynote addresses at events for the American Heart Association and manages her own social media channels, all while working as director of the Global Marketing Division at Merck. She also serves on the Northern New Jersey American Heart Association board, is a New Jersey Go Red for Women survivor ambassador, and is the survivor ambassador for the 2022 Northern NJ CycleNation event to promote physical activity and stroke awareness.
The other women recognized at the event were Diana Atehortua, Anne Bennet, Carol Cassale, Mia Guzman, Selena Kossup, Christine Lamparello, Michelle Palmer, Nelsy Payano, Carol Pomponio and Jodi Velez.
DePeña noted that women holding an elected position were not considered for the honor, which seeks to reward those women whose work often goes overlooked.
“Even if no one has told you that what you’re doing is amazing and no one has seen what you have done, there is an impact, an eternity in what you do, and I truly believe that,” she said. “You impact their lives. So, I hope you take this important moment to celebrate your own.”