Ex-governor, and local author honored as “women of distinction”
Asbury Park Press
April 23, 2009

Former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and author Mary Higgins Clark will be honored May 20 at the second annual Women of Distinction Fashion Show, a fundraiser for Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey.

Community leaders and a cable television host are taking part in the benefit for the nonprofit agency, which helps frail elderly residents in 23 Ocean County municipalities to remain independent.

Whitman, the guest of honor, and Clark, the guest speaker, will receive the agency’s 2009 Women of Distinction Award, says Lynette Whiteman, Caregiver Volunteers’ executive director. Whitman also will speak at the fundraiser.

Tickets are on sale now for the event, which includes the fashion show, a gift auction, desserts, door prizes and a cash bar and will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Ramada Inn in Toms River. Autographed copies of books by Whitman and Higgins Clark will be part of the auction.

A private wine-and-cheese reception with Whitman and Higgins Clark will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Tickets for the reception cost $75 each and include show admission, premium seats and auction tickets. Tickets for the show and auction only cost $30.

The emcees will be Derrick M. DeSilva Jr. of Edison, host of “To Your Health” on cable television station News 12 New Jersey, and Diane Turton of Diane Turton Realtors, with offices in Ocean and Monmouth counties and Florida.

Community leaders volunteering as models are Bahiyyah Abdullah of Toms River, senior director of membership and marketing, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, Farmingdale; News 12 New Jersey reporter Syma Chowdry and hosts Della Crews and Laura Jones; radio station WOBM-FM 92.7 co-host Sue Moll, Berkeley; Catherine Novy of Brick, administrator, Willows at Holmdel assisted living community; Stafford Councilwoman Marie-Elena O’Connor; Donna Palmer of Wall, community education liaison, Care Alternatives Hospice; Ann Schuld of Berkeley, owner of Ann Schuld Realty, Berkeley; and attorney Dina M. Vicari, Toms River, of R.C. Shea and Associates, Toms River.

Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey, based in Toms River and Manchester, matches senior citizens with trained volunteers who drive the seniors to medical appointments or grocery stores, aid with paperwork and provide respite time for caregivers.

All services are free, said Whiteman, adding the agency receives 2,000 requests a month for assistance.

Last year, the show raised $4,000, she said. Fashions for the show at the hotel, 2373 Route 9, are being provided by The Wasp in Bay Head and The Bee in Bay Head, Long Branch and Sea Girt.