Editor’s Note: This is the text of the speech given by Dr. Rebecca Wison, Minden High principal, last week as she announced Tokia Whiting Harrirson as 2021 Minden Woman of the Year. We will feature Man of the Year Jake Chapman on Thursday.
Some of the people in this room tonight have many things going for them. For some of you, you may have had the right parents. Perhaps, you lived in the right part of town. Maybe, you got the right kind of education. Or even you were given the right kind of job. You have the right kind of friends. The right kind of family. The right kind of career. And you will probably have a pretty right life.
You see there are some people who have simply been given this right kind of life. This is at no fault or of no doing of that person. Things just seemed to happen for them.
And then there are other people in this room tonight who have continually fought for something better than what they have been given. Not only have they fought for themselves, but they fight for others.
The 2021 Young Women’s Service Club Woman of the Year is this kind of person. She is a fighter. She fights not only for herself and her family, but she fights for others.
Please listen to some of the statements made by people in our community:
She is one of the most selfless people I have ever met.
She has an infectious smile and a heart made of gold.
She sacrifices herself for the betterment of others.
She is an amazing role model for people of all ages.
She fights to make a difference for our city.
These comments about her were repeated by so many people because they simply reflect who she is.
As a single mother, she worked 3-4 jobs at a time. She fought to ensure her child was given every opportunity to be successful.
As a female in a male dominated profession, she frequently had to fight to prove herself…… and prove herself she did.
She is a trailblazer in her career as she has fought to overcome deep-rooted misconceptions.
And through it all, her fight has developed her character.
Her character is displayed in her hard work, her dedication, and her love for others and her community.
She once stated that she cannot pinpoint a favorite memory from her career because she loves what she does. She said, “Every day is my new favorite memory.”
As she patrols the streets and walks the halls of schools, she understands her calling. The calling to fight for others, to change lives, and to make a difference.
She recently told a student: “Don’t let failure or fear stop you from pursuing your dreams.” She went on to tell him, “No one is perfect. You are going to make mistakes. Others will make mistakes too. Show them the same grace that you want to be shown.”
It’s that mentality that has spurred on her fight to keep doing good.
She fights for everyone to have a chance to be better.
Recently, when given a compliment, she humbly blew it off. Her co-worker said to her, “Quit dimming your own light.”
Her response was that she is simply not good at receiving compliments because and I quote, “I want to please God. I don’t want the glory. I just want to live my life for God.”
You see, her fight to do good is because her desire is to reflect God.
She is truly a fighter and a role model who I want to be more like.
It is an honor and privilege to announce that our 2021 Woman of the Year is Lieutenant Tokia Whiting Harrison.
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