To close out Women’s History Month, staff at the Florida Department of Corrections’ DeLand office surprised four notable local women with certificates of appreciation March 31.
Volusia County Council Member Barb Girtman, DeLand City Commissioner Jessica Davis, Deltona-based health-insurance agent and former West Volusia Hospital Authority Board Chair Dolores Guzman, and The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia CEO Savannah-Jane Griffin were all invited to the Department of Corrections office under the guise of speaking at a staff meeting.
Instead of a staff meeting, they were surprised with certificates of appreciation, flowers and praise from the department’s staff.
“We want to recognize you as agents of change,” Senior Probation Officer Jessica Moore said, “pioneers and trailblazers.”
None of the women knew what they were in for that day, and they certainly weren’t expecting any kind of special recognition.
“I am overwhelmed,” Guzman said. “Thank you so very much for including me with these amazing women.”
Davis said she was happy to receive the recognition and thrilled to see such diversity among the honorees.
“We have to keep advocating for those who need the advocating,” Davis said. “As a little girl growing up in the Soul City projects in Daytona Beach, there was nobody like me for me to look up to.”
The surprise was orchestrated by High-Risk Specialist Marie Lindor.
“I wanted to thank you beautiful women and honor you for your work in the community,” she said. “You have lightened the path and showed us what is possible.”
Each woman was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the DeLand office emblazoned with a quote from civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois: “In this world, there is no force equal to a woman determined to rise.”