Councilwoman honors Women of the Year
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera District 1 City Council Member Cece Gallegos honored five women in her district as Women of the Year at last week’s meeting. From left are Charlotte Brewer, Christina Riché, Gallegos, Debi Bray, Annette Kwock and Candy Talley.
Finally, Madera City Councilwoman Cece Gallegos was able to do something she had been wanting to do since she was elected to the District 1 seat — announce her Women of the Year.
Because of various circumstances, Gallegos has been unable to announce her District 1 Women of the Year and she was able to do it at the last Madera city Council meeting.
Gallegos handed out five Women of the Year plaques to signify her five years in office. They were awarded to Candy Talley, Annette Kwock, Christina Riché, Debi Bray and Charlotte Brewer.
Gallegos hopes by next March, the Madera City Council members will be able to honor a Woman of the Year from each district.
“Little girls with dreams become women with vision that have made a great impact to us all,” Gallegos said.
“She is a true Maderan and takes pride in building long-term relationships with many individuals of our community,” Gallegos read at the City Council meeting.
She is a member of the Madera planning commission and is a 32-year education and retired as an elementary school principal. She is now a realtor.
“She helps our community members find a safe place to live and call it home,” Gallegos said.
Talley is a trustee on the Madera County Cemetery Board, member of the Madera Rotary and a Madera County Master Gardener.
When Riché was a senior at Madera High School, she wanted to become a teacher.
“The idea of helping student like her father who worked the field and learned English as a newcomer to America became somewhat of a mission statement,” Gallegos said.
Riché has been a teacher for 22 years and has found herself education and mentoring students and families. Not only the newcomers, but many families that are struggling.
“Having a son, James, with autism has given her a skill set that helps so many students with special needs and gets them the support she needs to be successful,” Gallegos said.
She is currently a vice principal at Pershing Elementary School. Her daughters Samantha and Riley put tother prizes and goodies for her staff.
She will celebrate 20 years of marriage this July to her husband, Tim, a fellow educator.
“Her love of running has helped her be a part of the running community and helped at many causes,” Gallegos said. “Her vision and ministry are helping the children in Madera reach their full potential.”
She worked for eight years as a solid waste coordinator for the City of Madera and retired from Mid Valley Disposal.
During her time, she created programs like the “Blue Can Project” and the “Residential Sharps Collection.”
“She also engaged in direct community outreach to schools, businesses and the public to emphasize the importance of recycling and proper waste disposal. Her programs saved the city hundred of thousands of dollars,” Gallegos said.
Kwock was born and raised in Madera. She and her husband, Gary, raised three daughters — Andrea, Danielle and Christina.
She has served on the Chamber of Commerce for five years and is a member of Young Ladies Institute and Latinas Unidas. She was also and active parent, volunteering for various school boards and committees.
Bray is the CEO of the Madera Chamber of Commerce and is a graduate of Madera High School.
Galegos helped Bray with her Salute to Education program for more than eight years.
“The time, effort and commitment to that is incredible,” Gallegos said. “She is always highlighting new businesses in our community. she has a positive attitude, even when times are tough. She has been our small business champion throughout COVID.”
Bray has two children — a daughter, Marissa who lives in Madera, and a son, Clint who lives in Lyon, France. Bray is the grandmother of Sawyer and Briar.
Brewer is the Relay for Life Chairperson in Madera and has championed the event for many years. She has been active for Relay for Life for 15 years.
“She has encouraged our community and different groups to get involved in Relay for Life and has been very successful. She has helped create thousands of dollars for cancer research,” Gallegos said.
She was an educator for 34 years.
“She is best described as kind, caring, helpful, loving and has an awesome sense of humor,” Gallegos said. “She fought hard for the teachers in Madera Unified. I know every teacher thanks her for that.
She enjoys spending time with her grandson, especially at Disneyland.
“Friends say she is extra special because she will do anything for friends, family or anyone in need,” Gallegos said.