Five area women will be recognized for their contributions to Cherokee County communities during a Tuesday, March 27, luncheon that begins at noon at the Norman Activity Center, 526 E. Commerce St., in Jacksonville.
The local event was launched in 2014 as an observance of National Women’s History Month and is hosted by Cherokee County Women with Purpose.
Jacksonville native Jenna Jackson, CEO/producer at P+R Productions of Houston, is this year’s guest speaker.
Jackson is a recipient of Emmy, Edward R. Murrow and Peabody awards for her journalism work, and is passionate in her work with various charitable organizations, said Paige Goodwin, who serves as event co-chair alongside Cassie Devillier. “Jenna is really looking forward to ‘coming home’ to help honor local women in the community,” Goodwin said.
By recognizing local women, “we hope to inspire them to continue making their mark through the giving of their time, love and commitment as they make Cherokee County the best it can be,” Devillier added.
Luncheon tickets are $20 per person, with proceeds benefiting Living Alternatives of Jacksonville. They may be purchased at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce during regular business hours, or contact Peggy Renfro, 903-586-2217, for more information.
The 2018 honorees include Deborah L. Burkett. Thanks to Dr. Deborah L. Burkett’s love of history, area residents have gotten a glimpse into the lives of Cherokee County women who have made their mark in a number of different ways.
The Troup resident – a retired educator and a former site visitor for the American Medical Association – is a popular speaker who has authored “Quilts and Their Stories Binding Generations Together” and “East Texas Piney Woods Spunky Women-1830s to 1950s.”
In sharing the meticulously researched stories of women who, “for the most part, have never been featured in print before,” Burkett said she “gives each of these individuals a platform and a voice so their stories will resonate forever.”
She is a past president of the Cherokee County Historical Commission, president of the Federated Jacksonville Women’s Study Club and Vice Regent of Daughters of American Revolution, Jacksonville. Burkett is a graduate of Sam Houston State University and the University of Alaska. She received her doctorate in education from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Other women to be honored at the luncheon include from Jacksonville, Jasmine El-Moatassem, the youngest Women’s History honoree to date and who encourages students to give back to their community; Hallie Jewell Henry Peoples, a retired healthcare professional who has spent a lifetime ministering to others; Kristie “Kris” Kelley Sturrock, who has a long time association with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and has served on many local boards; and, from Rusk, Amy Rinehart, director of the Rusk library and a past chairman with Relay for Life of Cherokee County.