An evening with food, fun and a positive message celebrating women culminated with Delaware County Supervisor Shirley Helmrichs being named 2019 Woman of the Year.
Helmrichs received the honor at the inaugural EmpowHer Women’s Night celebration at the Gathering Place Oct. 2.
A crowd nearing 300 heard keynote speaker Gerarda Lahey-Keppler remind women that they are amazing.
Lahey-Keppler discussed four points with the audience; know your majesty and greatness, live the moment, make a difference in this world and pay attention to what she called “the list.”
“How many of you know how amazing you are?” she asked the crowd. “You only have one life on this earth. Make the most of it. You can’t do that if you don’t know that you are amazing.”
She also encouraged the crowd to find people who support them. “If people don’t tell you how amazing you are, find people who will tell you the truth.”
She told people to get off of their cell phones and talk to people. “We need to be paying attention to others. Don’t discount people. Other people are amazing. They all have a story to share.”
Lahey-Keppler said everyone can impact the world. “We are blessed to grow up in a place where we can do that. The beautiful thing about human nature is we don’t have to fall, we can just lean on other people.”
Discussing the list, she reminded the audience everyone has a limited amount of time on Earth. “The list is about recognizing what you want to accomplish.”
The reminder about recognizing accomplishments was appropriate given the list of accomplishments from the five women nominated for Woman of the Year. Joining Helmrichs as a nominee were Katie Edgington, Marian Gassman, Dianne Larsen and Kathy Wilgenbusch.
Helmrichs’ list of achievements is well-known in Manchester and Delaware County. She is in her 21st year as a county supervisor, active in the Delaware County Pork Producers and has been active with the Milo Livestock 4-H club for over 40 years.
Helmrichs said she was stunned to be named Woman of the Year. “It means a lot. This community has so many great people in it. I just feel really blessed to be a part of it.”
She said community involvement is her way of giving back. “So many people gave me so much when I was growing up through 4-H, church and school. I really feel it’s my job and everyone else’s job to give back whatever we can and help whoever we can though our lives.”
Manchester Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jessica Pape said the evening surpassed expectations. “It was a really great event. For our first time, we were hoping to have a fun evening. It was an honor to come together to celebrate great women in our community.”