Conway, Greenfield named residents Unsung Heroines

  • Mary McClintock of Conway is one of this year’s Unsung Heroines and will be honored at the State House on Tuesday. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • STAFF FILE PHOTO STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • STAFF FILE PHOTO STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/17/2019 10:26:58 PM

Conway resident Mary McClintock and Greenfield resident Joannah Whitney have been named two of the state’s Unsung Heroines this year for their community involvement and will be honored Tuesday at the State House.

McClintock, who was nominated by Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, and Whitney, who was nominated by Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, were named members of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 2019 class of Unsung Heroines for all that they do for local communities.

McClintock is a freelance writer and progressive activist who joined Community Action Pioneer Valley in 2017 as its community collaboration coordinator. She also started Greenfield’s Free Harvest Supper of Locally Grown Food several years ago and Greenfield’s weekly Peace Vigil. She was a food columnist for The Greenfield Recorder for a decade, writing the weekly Savoring the Seasons.

She was interim director of the Franklin County Community Meals Program and organizes events for local lesbians. She also co-organized the January 2017 Greenfield Women’s Rally that brought more than 2,500 people to the Greenfield Common.

“Mary excels at bringing people together for the greater good of our communities,” Blais said. “I am grateful to the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women for the opportunity to celebrate Mary and the positive impact she has made on countless lives throughout our region over the years.”

McClintock chairs Conway’s Planning Board and helped start its pre-Town Meeting dessert potluck and discussion. Recently, she advocated for individuals experiencing homelessness in Greenfield, helping them find services and shelter while working with homeless individuals, service providers and civic leaders to identify steps to solve the challenge of homelessness.

“I am thrilled and immensely honored by Rep. Blais nominating me for this award,” McClintock said. “I look forward to meeting the other awardees and learning from what they are doing in their communities.”

McClintock said she believes that as a community, everyone is in this together.

“In my daily work and life, I continually think about how I can help bring people together to address the many challenges we face and to celebrate our community,” McClintock said. “While getting recognition for my efforts isn’t my focus, I am grateful for all of the support I receive. I love building connections and helping folks use their talents in the best interest of everyone in our community. Together, we’re stronger and a powerful force for good.”

Comerford said she nominated Whitney because of her “deep and abiding advocacy focused on disability rights, health care access and equity.” She said Whitney uses her experience as a person living with multiple sclerosis — and who uses a wheelchair — to increase awareness and support for accessible public spaces and inclusive health care policies.

“I share this award with my community,” Whitney said. “Together, we have been working to make Greenfield a place that holds accessibility and inclusion as core values.”

Comerford said, “According to the commission, ‘Unsung Heroines are women who don’t make the news, but make the difference. They are the glue that keeps a community together and everyone is better off because of their contribution.’ Truer words could not describe Joannah Witney’s steadfast contributions to the wider Greenfield community.”

Comerford said from the moment she met Whitney — during her Senate campaign — her awareness about and commitment to disability rights and health care access has skyrocketed.

“She has held me and community initiatives accountable ever since,” Comerford said. “I am truly grateful.”

The commission is an independent state agency that was legislatively created in 1998.

A complete list of this year’s Unsung Heroines is available by calling the commission at 617-626-6520 or emailing: mcsw@state.ma.us




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