By LEVI PASCHER
For The Recorder
JOHNSTOWN -- Dozens of community leaders and guests made their way to the garden on Monday evening to celebrate the 94th annual Women's Equality Day and honor the 2014 Equality Award recipient at an event hosted by the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association.
The event marked the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted American women full suffrage and in 1971 Congress officially recognized Aug. 26 as Women's Equality Day, said event chairwoman Bonnie Valachovic.
This year's honoree was longtime area newspaper executive Patricia Beck of Amsterdam.
"We decided to honor someone who has achieved equality or worked toward equality for women," Valachovic said. "Pat Beck is a great example of this because she was the first female publisher of the newspaper and she has dedicated her life to helping women."
Beck retired in March after more than 17 years as publisher of The Leader-Herald, concluding a more than 30-year career in journalism and communications. During that time Beck worked at The Recorder in Amsterdam and later at The Leader-Herald in Gloversville. Since retiring from the Gloversville position, she has been serving as vice president of sales and marketing back at The Recorder.
She was also the first president of the New York State Advertising Executives and one of the first female presidents of the New York State Publisher's Association.
She has also served as a member of several community organizations, including the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Fulton-Montgomery Community College Foundation, Fulton County United Way, and Big Brothers-Big Sisters.
Following an hour of socializing and cocktails, the president of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association, Shannon Kline, presented the award to Beck.
"It's not about me," Beck told the audience as she accepted the award. "It's about what women did for us 94 years ago. I am so proud to be a part of the Johnstown community that has gone on to make sure these types of events are never forgotten."
Last year, the city's first female mayor Sarah Slingerland was given the award and she said on Monday she was pleased to see Beck receive that honor.
"I'm happy to be here for Pat and she is tremendously deserving of this award," she said.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton's great-great-granddaughter Coline Jenkins, of Greenwich, Conn., made her way to the event, which honors her family's place in women's rights.
"This is the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution," Jenkins said. "[Johnstown] was the epicenter of that movement and it was the soup of law that Elizabeth grew up in. She found a way to unite the two for her country and I would never miss this event."
Also in attendance was RoAnn Destito, who was the first woman to be appointed commissioner of the state Office of General Services.
"Diversity on the opinion pages is just as important as it is on the news desk and in the publishers office," she said.
The event was held in the garden of Patsy and Tom Suydam at 601 S. William St., Johnstown.
The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association was incorporated in June 2008 and looks to honor her legacy through community service and sponsoring educational events.