XENIA — Five Greene County women will be inducted into the 2014 Greene County Women’s Hall of Fame on Sept. 27: Verda “Peg” Cannon, Patty Davis, Aida Merhemic, Susan Stiles, and Nodie M. Washington.
The public is invited to attend the Recognition Day Luncheon 11:30 a.m. at Walnut Grove Country Club, 5050 Linden Ave. This marks the 34th-year for these recognitions.
Peg Cannon and Patty Davis were nominated mainly for their involvement as FISH food pantry volunteers in Xenia and Fairborn. Two Yellow Springs residents will receive honors: Aida Merhemic for her involvement in public education and Susan Stiles for her work in social issues, with both of them also honored for volunteer service. Nodie Washington, Ph.D., of Wilberforce will be honored for her professional career at a chemist and her service to Greene County as a volunteer.
Tickets are $15. It is through support of the annual luncheon that this totally volunteer organization continues to function. Reservations must be made in advance by phone or mail with the final absolute deadline of Sept. 20. Tickets are not mailed but are held at the door. Checks payable to the Greene County Women’s Hall of Fame may be mailed to: PO Box 703, Fairborn, OH 45324. For further information or telephone reservations call Ann Byrd, Hall of Fame chair at 937-429-1805.
Verda “Peg” Cannon of Xenia will be inducted into the Hall of Fame for her endeavors as a community volunteer. Cannon began volunteering for the Xenia FISH Food Pantry in 1979, and has served as the director of the pantry since 1990 strictly in a volunteer capacity. The pantry provides food to approximately 25,000 disadvantaged people annually.
She coordinates the FISH activities with more than 115 volunteers, and has worked tirelessly with volunteers in order to keep the pantry running in an efficient manner, whether at the pantry or from her home. Even today at age 89 and in spite of failing eyesight due to macular degeneration and other health problems, her total dedication is to the pantry. It seems a lighted magnifying reader and a scooter have allowed her to continue to make a difference. She worked for the Greene County Health Department for 20 plus years, and often volunteered in the schools to conduct annual hearing and sight tests for students. She is a founding member of the Greene County League of Women Voters, a past member of the Children’s Services Board and the Board of Directors of Easter Seals. Until recently, Peg served on the Board of St. Vincent DePaul operating out of St. Brigid Catholic Church in Xenia. She has demonstrated for many years the adage that “actions speak louder than words.”
Patty Davis of Fairborn will be inducted into the Hall of Fame for her endeavors as a community volunteer. In 1972, she first began with transportation for clients to medical appointments and delivering food to needy families. Staying involved in this effort for 42 years, today she manages the day-to-day operations of the Fairborn FISH Food Pantry, counseling clients, supervising volunteers, and serving as an ambassador to the Fairborn community.
In 1993, Davis and a FISH friend established the Circle of Victory Cancer Walk to help patients with expenses that arise from a cancer diagnosis. That walk, now supported by Greene Memorial and Soin Medical center, is in its 21st year and has raised over $150,000 and helped several hundred Greene County cancer patients. In another effort to reach out to others with cancer, Patty volunteered for 13 years providing one-on-one support for women facing breast cancer through the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program. She was honored for her outstanding service to Greene Memorial Hospital, church and community with the Chaplain Kenneth Beams Award in 1998, and for community service to Fairborn with the Peacemakers Award of Fairborn in 1999. One of her many nominators states that her sense of kindness, compassion and especially her humor make life friendlier and richer for everyone she meets.
Aida Merhemic of Yellow Springs will be inducted into the Hall of Fame for her endeavors in the fields of education and volunteer activities. She is a counselor by profession and an actively involved member of the Yellow Springs community. First elected to the Yellow Springs Board of Education in 2006, she is now in her third term and currently serves as Board President. She has shown leadership as the district moved to a project-based curriculum, hired new professional leaders and continues to maintain public support for the schools. Before becoming a member of the Board of Education, she was a member of the Antioch School Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2001.
Merhemic is a willing volunteer for many of the non-profits within the community. She has been a member and chair of the Yellow Springs Human Relations Commission, a mediator for the Greene County Domestic Relations Court, a Yellow Springs Aquatic Club board member, and is part of the 100 Women of Greene County group that raises funds for non-profits throughout the county. A nominator states that Aida accomplishes her goals in a measured, steadfast, quiet manner with a pleasant demeanor, being thoughtful of views of others, but with the end goal of improving the community for the long term.
Susan Stiles of Yellow Springs will be inducted into the Hall of Fame for her endeavors in social issues and volunteer activities. As a tireless advocate for the disadvantaged and vulnerable in Greene County, Susan has made many valued contributions. She is the Founder and Director Emeritus of the Greene County Family Violence Prevention Center. During her tenure, over 800 families were sheltered and supported as they moved to safe housing and new lives.
As Director of Greene Metropolitan Housing Authority for 17 years, after acting as Assistant Director for 6 years, she increased by several hundred the number of housing vouchers available to subsidize rent for eligible families, and worked to provide additional public housing units in Beavercreek, Xenia and Fairborn. She established the Greene County Housing Coalition of over 20 agencies to provide housing and services to low income citizens to provide a continuum of care necessary for eligibility to receive local, state and federal funding. For 12 years, she has served as a board member of Yellow Springs Home, Inc., and continues in retirement to work 20 hours per month for this community land trust that provides affordable and sustainable homes for purchase by low-income families. Additionally, she became certified as an Ohio Master Gardener in 2013. Her vision and actions have made Greene County a better place to live.
Nodie M. Washington of Wilberforce will be inducted into the Hall of Fame for her endeavors in chemistry and volunteer activities. She holds a Ph.D in Physical Chemistry from The Ohio State University, and was a Research Chemist and Associate Director with the Procter & Gamble Company. Her professional experience centered in the Fabric & Home care area, where she was a technologist and consumer researcher who led and managed project teams to identify & develop new technologies. Dr. Washington has also served as an instructor of chemistry at Central State University and at Jackson State University in Mississippi.
Following her retirement, she put her management skills to work by volunteering at Wilberforce University to assist faculty, administrators and students. She has served there as a Special Assistant to the President, editor-in-chief for faculty journals and coordinator of select programs. She was appointed to the Xenia Community Schools Board of Education in 2013. Nodie is a member of the Wilberforce-Xenia Optimist Club, where she served three years as president and also served as Lt. Governor at the state level for Optimists. Other involvements include the Greene County United Way Advisory Board and the Holy Trinity AME Church. A nominator states that our county has benefited greatly from her generous spirit, significant intellect and caring heart.