Joolwe.com online jewelry store is proud to announce the winners of the first annual Joolwe Selfless Woman Jewelry Award. At some point in all of our lives, one thinks about ways that he or she can make a difference in the world. Most of us think about it; then there are those that go out and do it. Joolwe.com founder Ryan Cheng wanted to reward five members of the community who make a difference every day of their lives in the life of a perfect stranger.
Our company called upon members of the public to nominate someone they know that deserves to be honored publicly and given a gorgeous piece of free jewelry as a constant reminder of how special they are. This heroic group of women are the altruistic crusaders of our modern time.
They have taken it upon themselves to remember those that are too often forgotten. Every day we are barraged with images of people who are going through hard times in their lives, but there is a sense of detachment. It is on the television, in the newspaper, in someone else’s neighborhood; rarely do we see people taking the time to take up an issue that isn’t directly on their doorstep. Our company would like to honor: Juanita Butler, Dr. Rachel Ruotolo, Lana Mae Noone, Whitney Johnson and Roberta Hershon for all of their courageous efforts to make the world a better place for all of mankind. Through their actions, these women help to create a cycle of charity that our company believes can change the world.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. - Winston Churchill
Juanita Butler is 94-years-young and resides in Lakeview, Michigan. This altruist has been actively involved in her community for decades. A former employee of the Enterprise newspaper, Juanita has raised six children and is still working as a foster grandparent at the Lakeview middle school. Even at the tender age of 85-years-old, Juanita was asked to serve on the local building commission and volunteered there for over 5 years. A patriotic member of her community, she helped collect items and develop a local museum dedicated to the history of Lakeview. The Red Cross recently awarded her for volunteering with the organization for 26 years; helping recruit people to work the annual blood drives and even donating blood herself. Juanita is active in her church and has even worked on quilts to send overseas. Not only does Juanita dedicate her time to others, she also is the devoted matriarch of her family. Her family says they love to gather at her home for dinner and a hearty dose of love.
Dr. Rachel Ruotolo is a plastic surgeon who has dedicated her life to pediatric craniofacial surgery. In fact, she is the only plastic surgeon on Long Island completely devoted to this form of surgery. In 2008-2009 alone, Dr. Ruotolo performed over 100 cleft and craniofacial surgeries. Her focus is on birth deformities such as cleft lip and palate, port wine stains and hemangiomas. She also specializes in facial trauma in children such as mandible fractures, ear reconstruction and cranioplasty after craniotomy. When asked why they chose this line of plastic surgery, Dr. Ruotolo says ” I feel like I relate really well and connect really well to the kids and their needs. I have relationships with my patients for life - not just for the lifetime of their procedures.” She says it breaks her heart when children tell her that they’re being teased. Dr. Ruotolo is a board member of CAPS, Child Abuse Prevention Services. She felt she could learn from their bullying program because her patients are bullied all of the time. She says she finds it rewarding knowing that these kids can now fit it and integrate normally after treatment. “They can go through school. play sports and not have their deformity be the focus of their life,” says Dr. Ruotolo.
Lana Mae Noone is a mother of two and founder of Vietnambabylift.org. The organization helps to re-unite Vietnam Veterans, civilians with their birth and adoptive families. She also created the Heather Constance Noone Memorial Award to honor the unsung heroes of Babylift. Lana is no stranger to the international adoption, she adopted her two daughters Jennifer and Heather from Vietnam in 1975. She adopted her son Jason from Korea in 1979. Unfortunately, her daughter Heather passed away. Vietnambabylift.org was formed as a promise to Lana’s daughter Heather/Mai Ngoc Tranh before she died on May 17, 1975. Even though Heather was flown halfway around the world, doctors could not save her life. Lana says she and her husband were forced to watch Heather’s life slip away. “I told her how sorry I was that medicine couldn’t save her. I pledged to do whatever I could to help the world remember Babylift and her short life,” says Lana. She wants Vietnambabylift.org to be a legacy of everyone whose lives were affected by “The Vietnam Era”. Lana has been honored by the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and received the New York State Senate Commendation.
Whitney Johnson is the founder and executive director of the Ubuntu Africa organization. Whitney was still in college when she realized that she wanted to start a non-profit organization in South Africa dedicated to teenagers living with HIV/AIDS. While volunteering outside of Cape Town, she realized that the teenagers there did not have a support system. People were focused on taking care of the younger children and leaving the older ones to fend for themselves. Many of these children were living with only one parent or were orphaned and taking care of younger siblings. Whitney comes from a middle class background with no primary source of funding herself, but with the help of a community of people, she was able start Ubuntu Africa in 2007. Her organization now serves of 50 children with HIV/AIDS in Khayletisha, South Africa. Through Ubuntu, Whitney has saved the lives of two children and prolonged the lives of many others. Whitney may be young, but she is already considered a hero to many.
Roberta Hershon is the founder of Hope in Bloom. Her organization plants gardens free of charge at the home of any Massachusetts breast cancer patient in active treatment. Hope in Bloom is dedicated to Roberta’s best friend of more than 50 years Beverly Eisenberg, who died of breast cancer. Founded in 2007, Hope in Bloom has planted more than 70 gardens so far and have over 100 people on the waiting list. Although her organization is a full-time commitment, Roberta also runs a business full time. Roberta is hands on with Hope in Bloom; helping plant the gardens, overseeing the installations and provides support to the volunteers and the garden’s recipient. She also recruits nurseries and garden supply vendors to secure wholesale pricing for her cause. Roberta also enlists the help of architects and designers, who donate their time to the recipient’s to design an indoor, patio or in-ground garden for them. Roberta now has 650 volunteer planters to install the gardens and she’s not stopping there. She has developed partnerships with mammography centers, oncologists, garden clubs, women’s groups, social workers and retail establishments. Her gardens are not only gorgeous, they help the patients heal. Some of the recipients have contacted Hope in Bloom to let the organization know that they are cancer free. One Stage IV recipient said, “Gardens provide a special brand of medicine that the medical community can’t give me. I know I am here today because of great medical intervention, faith and my garden.”
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