HeART to Heart luncheon honors Women of Inspiration
By Carole Robinson, Staff Writer
The Patricia Hart Society, founded eight years ago by women who wanted to use their strengths, experiences and resources to engage other women and improve lives, works through the United Way of Williamson County to provide additional funding and resources to impact as many people as possible. An addition to this year’s annual luncheon, held Feb. 8, was the recognition of Women of Inspiration – women the United Way helped to overcome adversity. Three finalists were chosen from 13 nominees who faced adversity and were able to make positive changes in their lives. Gina Iser was the recipient of the first Woman of Inspiration award. She received a $1,000 wardrobe from Dillards, two-night stay at the Embassy Suites, a $1,000 check and a $2,500 donation in her name to Bridges of Williamson County both donated by Patricia Hart. The two finalists were Heather Redington and Jennifer Schultz. They each received a $100 gift card from Dillards, a $500 check and $1,500 agency donation in their name from Patricia Hart.
Gina Iser’s life was changed that day in 2009 when she sought help from Bridges of Williamson County. After years of abuse, Gina became determined her young daughter would not grow up living in fear.
“So, to me, the most important thing about getting out was empowering my daughter,” she said.
Gina got her insurance license and a job with Allstate in charge of The Purple Purse, an program for domestic violence awareness. She is also developing a program to educate the religious community on how to speak with their congregation about domestic violence.
Heather Redington is a single mother raising three adopted children with special needs and two biological children. The first time Heather came to GraceWorks was the Christmas her husband lost his job. The next time was after their home was foreclosed, her husband left, the children were having “medical crisis after medical crisis” and Heather was struggling to make ends meet.
Today Heather has her own business cleaning houses and “financial freedom” and she is a faithful volunteer at GraceWorks.
Jennifer Schultz is a single mother with two daughters and a four-year-old son, Hatcher, who has Downs Syndrome. Hatcher was diagnosed with leukemia at four-months and was recently diagnosed autistic.
“He fought the fight of his life at four-months old,” she said. “That was so scary, so to come to a place like High Hopes where they put us back together one piece at a time …”
Hatcher receives physical, occupational and speech therapy at High Hopes. Because of his medical schedule, Jennifer couldn’t work. She got behind in her students loans, creditors were after her and she had to go on Food Stamps to feed her family.
The therapists and teachers at High Hopes encouraged her to “be a woman again, to be a mom again, to be a person again.”
A parent helped her with a resume and Jennifer found a job with the Red Cross, which she is able to keep because of a donor provided scholarship for Hatcher to attend High Hopes preschool.
Posted on: 2/14/2013