The Women in Tyler luncheon was one big celebration complete with flowers, tiaras and a little bit of dancing.

The Women in Tyler Planning Committee recognized Debbie Broughton, Ruth Flynn, Peaches Owen, Carmen Sosa, Phyllis Tindel and Alesha Williams during the event at the Rose Garden Center on Thursday.

This year's theme was "Women with a Heart" and "they are awesome," event co-chairwoman Sandra Nauls-Mast said.

Honoree Debbie Broughton is founder and director of Young Girls With Purpose, which teaches the importance of health, intellect, purpose and beauty. She is a music teacher and gospel aerobics instructor, who herself has lost more than 100 pounds.

"She promotes the ‘you can do it' attitude, theme and mantra," Daye Collins said.

Honoree Ruth Flynn is the retired director of the Tyler Junior College Apache Belles, who emphasized perfecting not only the precision dance team's routines, but also the character and integrity of each Apache Belle. She started the Apache Belle Gold alumni group and Belle Babes, a dance workshop for girls.

"Many credit her for actually saving the Apache Belles organization," Ms. Collins said.

Honoree Peaches Owen and her husband, Louis, have conducted pre-marital counseling at St. Mary's Catholic Church for more than 20 years. The couple gave $18 million to Trinity Mother Frances for the heart hospital. Mrs. Owen also supports the Girl Scouts and other charities.

"It's been a (lasting) marriage and a great partnership and lots of love to pass around," Ms. Collins said of the couple. Mrs. Owen was unable to attend the event, but one of her children attended in her place.

Honoree Carmen Sosa is founder of the East Texas Community Food Coalition, which aspires to connect farmers with restaurants for the farm-to-fork movement. She is the garden coordinator at St. Paul's Children's Foundation and the St. Louis Early Childhood Center.

Ms. Collins said a friend once asked Ms. Sosa, "If you could do anything, what would it be? And she responded, ‘Feed people.'" She has been doing that in one way or another ever since.

Honoree Phyllis Tindel is former program manager for Tyler ISD's Teenage Parents' Program. She has also served on the Women's Symphony League, the Junior League of Tyler and is past president and member of the Mildred Floyd Garden Club. She continues a life-long passion of educating youth with her involvement in Delta Kappa Gamma and the International Society for Key Women Educators.

She lives by the mantra, "If I think I'm having a boring day, it's my fault," Ms. Collins said.

Honoree Alesha Williams is an attorney who has a passion for helping others, Ms. Collins said. She has served on the PATH board, is a member of Tyler Executive Women's Network and a Leadership Tyler graduate. She also is involved in the SFA Alumni Association, the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas as a volunteer, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and has served with the Smith County Bar Association and the Bar Foundation.

Ms. Collins said Ms. Williams committed her time and resources, but the source of that desire to serve comes from her heart and a belief that "where God put her, she was there to do what she could."

Event co-chairwoman Donna Mann said her hope is that people came away from the event with the understanding that "everyone has the ability to do great things."

Next year's Women in Tyler theme is "Women with a Cause," and the Women in Tyler committee invited people to submit nominations by mail or in person to one of the committee members.

 
 

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