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Women's political action committee honors two Washington County women

Irvin-Craig, Hayes receive awards at Women at the Table dinner

Irvin-Craig, Hayes receive awards at Women at the Table dinner

May 09, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Linda Irvin-Craig's first taste of county politics came when she was 12 years old.

The elementary school student was upset about a leak in the roof of her school building that had gone unrepaired.

So without telling her parents, she went to a Washington County Commissioners' meeting and demanded that it be fixed.

More than 50 years later, Irvin-Craig has augmented her political experience, having served one term on the Washington County Board of Education and two terms as a county commissioner, the first woman to serve in that position.

For her public service, as well as her work on numerous boards and commissions in the county, Irvin-Craig was honored Thursday during the eighth annual Life of Leadership Dinner and Celebration sponsored by Women at the Table, a political action committee whose mission is to get women elected to public office and achieve parity in Washington County government.

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Suzanne D. Hayes, a financial adviser who has served on several boards and commissions in the county, also was honored at the dinner.

Both women said Thursday they were humbled by the work of the other.

"Suzanne is one of the sharpest minds in Washington County, and it's amazing to be here accepting this along with her," Irvin-Craig said.

Hayes, who works with Merrill Lynch and operates a 200-acre farm with her husband, is a member of the boards of the YMCA and the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. She also chairs the Vision Forum of the Greater Hagerstown Committee.

She served on the county's agricultural preservation committee that developed the easement process for local farmers and chaired the land-use and growth task force for FOCUS, a citizen's effort to develop a strategic plan for Washington County.

Irvin-Craig works with Interfaith Housing Alliance, which addresses shelter poverty issues in Washington, Frederick, Allegany and Carroll counties in Maryland and Franklin and Cumberland counties in Pennsylvania. She also is on Washington County's Urban Growth Area Rezoning Advisory Committee.

She has served on the Hagerstown Board of Zoning Appeals, helped found Children's Village of Washington County, Leadership Hagerstown and Women at the Table, and also writes for several local historic interest publications.

Women at the Table honored three women every year when they began giving awards but now select two per year, board member Linda Smith said.

"We started it because we have all these women in the community who have done wonderful things, and we wanted to tell them how grateful we are for what they've done," Smith said.

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