On Monday, August 26, 2013, the Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women (OCCSW) held the 2013 Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony and reception at the Costa Leadership Institute at Northwest Florida State College’s Niceville Campus. During the ceremony, the following women, selected by the OCCSW, were inducted into the Hall of Fame:
• DeFuniak Springs native, Mary E. Burnette, was the first African-American teacher in the current Okaloosa County School System. She lobbied for and directed the local Head Start Program for 22 years. She also provided property for the Burnette-Harmon-Wood Community Resource Center that now operates within the Sylvania Heights Front Porch community in Fort Walton Beach.
• Niceville native, Rogene Anchors Hasty, served as Crestview’s first Newcomer Greeting hostess and is a former Executive Director of the Crestview Chamber of Commerce. She was appointed by former Governor Bob Graham to a regional education committee that helped secure a nursing program that resulted in one of the first four-year degrees available at Northwest Florida State College.
• Destin Mayor, Sarah “Sam” Seevers, who prior to becoming mayor, served on the Destin City Council. Mrs. Seevers also served as Chair of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agencies, President of the Northwest Florida League of Cities, and an executive board member for the Florida League of Cities. She attended the 56th Annual National Security Forum through Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base and served as Honorary Commander for the 68th Electronic Warfare Squadron on Eglin Air Force Base.
"These inspiring women are all assets to our community. Each of these role models has made tremendous contributions to improve the lives of citizens living in our county and should be recognized for the impact they have had on our community," says Shirley Pigott, Chair of the Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women.
The Okaloosa County Women's Hall of Fame is sponsored by the OCCSW and is held in conjunction with Women’s Equality Day. The Okaloosa County Women's Hall of Fame recognizes and honors women who through their lives and efforts make significant contributions and quality-of-life improvements. Photos of the 2013 inductees will be placed permanently on display with the Okaloosa County Court House in Crestview, the Board of County Commissioner’s building on Lewis Turner Boulevard and in the Niceville City Council Chambers. For more information, visit the website at www.occsw.org or contact Wanjiku Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org by email.
The Okaloosa County Commission on the Status of Women (OCCSW) was established by the Board of County Commissioners in 1995 for the purpose of recognizing and honoring women who have made significant contributions to the improvement of women and citizens of Okaloosa County. The OCCSW membership is composed of appointments by county commissioners and representatives of various women's organizations. Each year they take nominations for the Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame, conduct special activities during Women’s History Month, provide a speakers bureau addressing various women’s issues, and partner with Jobs Plus and the Workforce Development board in the “Suit Up to Move Up” program to provide appropriate clothing for ladies trying to get off welfare and into the workforce. For more information, contact Shirley Pigott at email@example.com, or visit the organization's website, www.occsw.org.