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2008.02.05 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@mail.unomaha.edu

2008 Women of Wisdom Award Honorees Announced

Omaha - The Program for Women and Successful Aging, an outreach program based at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), announced the winners of the fourth annual PWSA Women of Wisdom Awards. Recipients will be honored at a luncheon and community-wide program, “Celebrate: Women of Wisdom Because Aging is a Lifetime Event,” set for May 1.

The keynote speaker will be bestselling author of “Eat Cake” and “Julie and Romeo,” Jeanne Ray.

“The three women we have selected have made a tremendous impact in our community and in the lives of the people they have touched,” said Patricia Adams, director of the UNO Program for Women and Successful Aging (PWSA), the sponsor of the Women of Wisdom Awards. “The mission of the award is to recognize the important and often unrecognized contributions that senior women make each day.”

The 2008 award winners are as follows:

Karen Rossi is director of the Omaha Hearing School for Children and author of “Learn to Talk Around the Clock Toolbox,” which helps parents and teachers teach a hearing impaired baby to babble and speak like any other child. Rossi also teaches in the master’s program on early childhood oral deaf education at UNO.

Lela Knox Shanks is recognized for her advocacy and dedication to Alzheimer’s awareness. Her personal experience dealing with her husband’s dementia led to the publication of her book, “Your Name is Hughes Hannibal Shanks. A Caregiver’s Guide to Alzheimer’s.” Not only does she regularly speak at Alzheimer’s Association engagements, but she is also a mentor to young women in group homes and is active in civil rights and peace efforts.

Patricia Swift, a cancer survivor, volunteers for the American Cancer Society program “Reach for the Cure,” but does most of her service at the Nebraska Medical Center, serving as a transplant companion to patients facing life threatening treatments. Swift encourages others to stay active by arranging sewing and knitting groups to make gifts for oncology and pediatric patients.

PWSA will also award the Shirley Waskel Award for the Advancement of Women, which honors a prominent senior woman. The 2008 recipient is Kathryn (Kay) Tukey, for her work with the American Red Cross, Heartland Chapter and providing disaster relief at home and throughout the country for over 65 years. Tukey was also one of the founders, along with Emmy Gifford, of the Omaha Junior Theater, bringing theater to thousands of fourth-grade students in the Omaha area.

The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Central. It is open to the public. Tickets are $40 per person, or $35 for seniors over the age of 60. Corporate tables are available beginning at $500.

For more information, call (402) 554-4897 or (402) 554-2292 or email padams@mail.unomaha.edu

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