BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – During Women’s History Month, the stories of four local finalists in the Nexstar Remarkable Women competition were featured on NBC Local 33 and FOX 44. Every Tuesday night, viewers tuned in to celebrate the power of women to inspire, lead and pave the way for other women.
In the end, however, there can only be one territory winner.
Nextstar is grateful for the dedication of Dr. Patricia Norwood to ensure everyone has access to parenting classes and return to work programs. Her non-profit organization, Mirror of Grace, offers all opportunities to the community for free. The organization also works with other organizations to ensure that no family misses out on a holiday meal and that every child has a gift to unwrap on Christmas morning.
When asked what motivates her to give, Norwood replied, “I’m enjoying the journey, so whatever comes from day to day, I’m just going to keep smiling and serving and enjoying life.”
Finalist Viki Ellis founded and runs a home for teenagers in crisis. Heritage Ranch is a fifty-two acre estate in Zachary that grew out of an idea Ellis had during a trip when he was fourteen. She says that back then she realized firsthand that anything is possible with a strong family.
The community hits near Ellis’ home are having a positive impact. “I’m raising my kids here, my family is here, and everyone I love and care about is here in this region,” Ellis said. “We want to help make it an incredible place to live, where families feel supported and have access to resources.”
Mari Robillard has served Louisiana lawmakers for more than a decade. Her company, Cooking by Design, was founded after retiring from a successful career in the legal profession.
Scores of people have commented on Robillard’s kind heart and dedication to providing those in need access to a hot, home-cooked meal monthly.
“Love drives everything,” Robillard said, “so if you don’t start with love, you won’t make a good gumbo.”
Remarkable Women finalist Tonja Myles has worked tirelessly as a mental health advocate and peer counselor for those struggling with addiction and other crises. Her work in the community and beyond spans decades. Myles consulted with the administration of President George W. Bush for six years and was mentioned in his 2003 State of the Union address.
She is a former military police officer and veteran trailblazer, an honor bestowed on only 16 women annually. Myles also recently testified on Capitol Hill to push for the launch of a mental health crisis hotline, which is due to go into effect nationwide this summer.
For these reasons, Myles is a Nexstar Market finalist in the 2022 Remarkable Women competition. As part of her winnings, the company will donate $1,000 to a charitable organization of Myles’ choice.
“I chose The BRidge Agency because they do a great job,” said Myles. “Pushing hope without resources, I basically just did nothing, and if you can combine hope and resources, you can really make a difference in people’s lives.”
Founded by Nicole Scott, The BRidge Agency is a new organization that coordinates access to resources for those living in crime hotspots, according to its website.
“We appreciate those who see our work, but we know it won’t stay here,” said Board Member Franklin Soares. “This (donation) will help us to be better and bigger.”
Market finalists were selected based on nominations from the local community in 114 Nexstar television markets.
Nexstar’s Remarkable Women competition is designed to recognize the impact women have had on public policy, social advancement and the quality of life in the United States. The competition will culminate in the “Nexstar Woman of the Year” announcement to be announced exclusively on NewsNation on April 9 at 8:00 am CT. The Nexstar Charitable Foundation will then make a $5,000 contribution on behalf of the Nexstar Woman of the Year, the charitable organization of their choice.