posted Jun 17, 2013, 6:17 AM by Cleon Turner

For Immediate Release                                 For Further Information Contact:

4/29/2013                                                              Carly Fleming – 617-722-2090

(BOSTON, MA) – On Monday, April 29, five Cape women were honored as Unsung Heroines of 2013 by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women at a ceremony held at the State House in Boston. The women were nominated by members of the Cape legislative delegation for their outstanding contributions to their organizations and communities. This year’s recipients from the Cape include: Elizabeth (Lisa) Knight of Oaks Bluffs, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Second Class Darcy McGrail of Cataumet, Dorothy A. Savarese of Harwichport, Florence Seldin of Chatham and Pearl Wolfson of Yarmouthport.

The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is an independent state agency that was legislatively created in 1998 to advance women of the commonwealth to full equality in all areas of life and to promote their rights and opportunities. The Unsung Heroines are women who don’t always make the news, but who truly make a difference in the lives of others on a daily basis.

State Senator Dan Wolf said of his nominee, “Dorothy Savarese, through her leadership at a true community bank and her involvement in so many organizations and causes in Southeastern Massachusetts, has demonstrated a ‘service before self’ spirit- that is to be celebrated.”

“The Unsung Heroine award gives recognition to those who never sought it in the first place. Pearl Wolfson is one of those rare people who when she sees people in need, she takes action. It was an honor to nominate a woman who was so deserving of our highest esteem,” said State Representative Cleon Turner.

“I was pleased to nominate Florence Seldin who is a true unsung heroine and bulwark of the Lower Cape community. Through her work on the League of Women Voters, Chatham’s affordable Housing committee, the Community Development Partnership, and her service as Chair of the Chatham Board of Selectman she has improved countless lives,” said State Representative Sarah Peake.

I was honored to nominate Lisa after hearing from several constituents of her commitment to the young men and women on Martha’s Vineyard. She is clearly someone who quietly does wonderful work, never seeking fanfare. Her being recognized is long overdue. And what a terrific day we had at the State House, she seemed to be taken aback to be included in such a wonderful group of women, but she certainly belongs there,” said State Representative Tim Madden.

Biographies of this year’s recipients from the Cape are as follows:

Elizabeth (Lisa) Knight, Oaks Bluffs Lisa has been teaching physical education and health for the past 25 years at Martha's Vineyard regional high school. She is the varsity field hockey coach, a coach for the Martha's Vineyard Special Olympics team and has coached basketball, softball as well as youth teams in the past. She instills confidence and a strong work ethic while motivating teens to do their personal best. She leads by example, running the Boston Marathon for the second time this year. She has an open door policy at her office that encourages teens to talk or seek help when needed. During field hockey season, the hours of preparation as well as her level of dedication far exceeds what is expected of her.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Second Class Darcy McGrail, Cataumet Darcy is stationed at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and works in the medical clinic as a Health Services Technician. She is assigned as a laboratory supervisor and is responsible for patients of all five branches of the Military serving in Southern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands. She is a member of the USCG's Human Relations Committee which fosters mutual respect among personnel through educational classes in Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Darcy volunteered numerous times this year as a Coast Guard Color Guard member at veteran's funerals and annual memorial services at the Massachusetts National Cemetery, in Bourne. She also focused on families as a participant in this year's Coast Guard Day family celebration help in Sandwich, MA. In the past year, Petty Officer. McGrail has personally responded to four Search and Rescue cases that required her specialized skill set. In each case, her exceptional judgment, accurate patient evaluation and extraordinary poise under stressful circumstances literally made the difference between life and death.

Dorothy A. Savarese, Harwichport Dorothy has been an ardent fighter for Cape Cod's middle class. Dorothy serves as Chairwoman of The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank Charitable Foundation Trust, which under her leadership last year awarded nearly $600,000 in grants focusing largely on initiatives to prevent foreclosures. Cape Cod Five remains locally controlled, managed, and rooted, buttressing tens of thousands of local businesses and homeowners, supporting scores of community non-profit organizations in every walk of life- from arts to health care, education to social services. Among her many community affiliations are serving as Chairwoman of the Board of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Cape Cod Community College.

Florence Seldin, Chatham Florence makes a difference in Chatham and across Cape Cod on a daily basis. Her volunteerism includes servicing as president of the League of Women Voters of Cape Cod, two terms on the Chatham Board of Selectmen, work on the Chatham Affordable Housing Committee, and Friends of Chatham Affordable Housing. Florence was Chatham's representative to the Cape Cod Commission for ten years, and in 2004 Florence was elected to the Board of Directors of the Lower Cape Cod Community Development Corporation. She continues to serve as the Clerk, Court Advocate for Independence House, and Am Hayam, a Cape Cod Jewish community. Throughout her many areas of service she enriches the lives of others.

Pearl Wolfson, Yarmouthport Pearl is one of those rare people who, when she sees people in need, she takes action. Through her work with Housing Assistance Corps in Hyannis, Pearl Wolfson noticed the need for affordable housing in her community. She found that people who grew up in Yarmouth couldn't afford to buy homes there. In response to this need, she co-founded the non-profit Our First Home with her husband Joel. Since its founding in 1999, Our First Home has helped build and renovate affordable housing for working people and people with disabilities. Our First Home also helps low income homeowners to renovate homes and even helped people with maintenance costs. In addition to her efforts to makehome ownership attainable, she also helped start the Wingate Kirkland Camp in Yarmouth Port that operates under the philosophy that every child should be treated with respect, regardless of their differences.