Osceola Commissioners Honor five Community Leaders as Women Warriors
In honor of Womenâ€™s History Month, Osceola County recognized five women for their positive contributions to the community on March 21, 2022.
The impetus for the Woman Warrior awards as part the celebration of Womenâ€™s History Month started eight years ago after Vice Chairwoman Viviana Janer was elected to the County Commission. Each commissioner selects a nominee.
This yearâ€™s Woman Warrior honorees include:
- District 1, Captain Jessie Chapman: Jessie was born and raised in the Florida Panhandle. A fourth generation Salvationist, she has served The Salvation Army in many capacities. As the Area Commander of Orange and Osceola Counties, she leads a Womenâ€™s Auxiliary organization and a young executive group called Echelon. She provided Christmas for over 50,000 children and 10,000 seniors through her leadership of The Salvation Army Angel Tree. Jessie works diligently to expand the social services provided in Osceola County through the Emergency Services Center, providing care to hundreds of residents.
- District 2, Bethzaida Garcia: Bethzaida founded Life in your Hands/Vida en tus Manos -- a non-profit organization that has its roots in domestic violence and sexual assault awareness. The programâ€™s focus is to spread the word against domestic violence, while promoting sexual abuse prevention, safety and self-defense through classes, seminars, television, radio, newspapers and social media. She coordinates the â€śSafe Womanâ€ť seminar that teaches leaders and the community about domestic violence awareness and how it impacts everyone. Bethzaida also provides counseling services, safety and self-defense awareness classes through the program. Bethzaida is a Public Education Coordinator for Osceola County Fire Rescue & EMS.
- District 3, Wilda Belisle: For 24 years Wilda has steered the Osceola Council on Agingâ€™s Meals on Wheels program to make it into a successful and nationally recognized program. Taking risks, giving her all at fundraising events, providing meals to those in need, going the distance for the clients and seeing to their general welfare have helped make the Osceola Council on Agingâ€™s Meals on Wheels program successful. She started with the Osceola Council on Aging in 1995 as a Case Manager, and has held a number of positions, most recently as Senior Vice President of Nutrition. In 2019, Wilda won Meals on Wheelsâ€™ top national award. She is president-elect of the Rotary Club of West Kissimmee.
- District 4, Diana Marrero-Pinto: Diana was born in Ohio to Puerto Rican parents. She has been Executive Director of Kissimmee Main Street since October 2016. She uses her 20 years of experience as a nonprofit professional to lead an organization that creates community events to highlight Historic Downtown Kissimmee and support its small businesses. She is a housing professional with multiple certifications in rental, purchase and home preservation. She is committed to helping the less fortunate -- including feeding and sheltering the homeless.
- District 5, Jennifer Paul: Jennifer was born in Orlando but raised primarily in Osceola County. Her passion has been documenting and sharing the history of Osceolaâ€™s African-American community. Her familyâ€™s roots in Osceola have given her access to many, many stories that might have been forgotten had she not publicized them. She currently works at Lockheed Martin and has over 15 years of experience in the Department of Defense manufacturing industry. She is Chairperson for the NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Committee of Osceola County. She always encourages people to be a good neighbor by being kind to one another. She's very involved in her community through St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church.