Debra Fiorito Named 16th District’s Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award Winner

Debra Fiorito Named 16th District’s Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award Winner
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Debra Fiorito Named 16th District’s Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award Winner (Cook County, IL) — Cook County’s 2024 Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award winners have been chosen. Representing the 16th District is Debra Fiorito. Mrs. Fiorito, who currently lives in unincorporated Melrose Park, was chosen by 16th District elected officials, including 16th District County Commissioner Frank J. Aguilar, 16th District Commissioner on Women’s Issues Claudia Ayala, Leyden Township Supervisor Rocco Biscaglio, and Franklin Park Mayor Barrett Pedersen. Mrs. Fiorito is one of 18 total award winners throughout Cook County who will be celebrated during an award ceremony in March.

“It was my pleasure to select Mrs. Fiorito as the 16th District’s Unsung Heroine Award winner,” said Cook County Commissioner Frank J. Aguilar. “I have known Debra to be a focused and proactive community leader, someone who sees her goals and initiatives through to the end. Her priority is her community, and I know she will continue to do great things for the 16th District.”

Given to one woman in each of Cook County’s 17 Districts, plus one countywide winner, the Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award seeks to honor outstanding women throughout Cook County who have made positive contributions in their communities. Any woman, as long as they are not an elected official, can be nominated. This award is designed to recover and tell the story of the powerful impact women have had throughout history on the development of our social, cultural, economic, and political institutions.

“Debra Fiorito is a lifelong public servant and community leader,” said Leyden Township Supervisor Rocco Biscaglio.  “Her involvement in the community is decades-long, beginning when she organized local moms from the neighborhood to revitalize an area in Mannheim Road by successfully advocating for the removal of an adult entertainment establishment. Through the collective power of women and community organizing, Debra has contributed so much to so many.”

Mrs. Fiorito joined the Parent Teacher Association and raised significant funding for local school programs. In 1994, she was elected as Village Clerk of Franklin Park as the first woman to serve in the position and went on to serve two consecutive terms. While Mrs. Fiorito has dedicated her life to educational and family initiatives, all while raising three children, she continued to stay involved as a Lions Club Member and Appointee for the Redevelopment of Mannheim Road, a local revitalization project.

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“Congratulations to Debra Fiorito on being selected for the Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award for the 16th District”, said Mayor Barrett Pedersen. “Debra has proudly served the communities of Leyden Township as a volunteer and as a public servant. Mrs. Fiorito has inspired the next generation of women in Leyden Township to consider careers in public service. I look forward to continuing to work with Debra on behalf of the communities in Leyden Township.”

All award winners will be honored at a countywide ceremony on Friday, March 8th at the Chicago Cultural Welcome Center.  Then, on Friday, March 15th, Mrs. Fiorito will be honored during the Third Annual 16th District Women’s Power Brunch in Franklin Park. Also in attendance will be women elected officials from throughout Leyden Township. There, 16th District women leaders will be able to promote and collaborate on their initiatives and goals, while giving space to honor all those who have impacted our community for the better.

“The collective power of the Cook County Women’s Issues Commission is real and evident from the commission’s impactful and historical work since its inception in 1995. In this role, I have learned to identify what makes us different, and more importantly what makes us come together to strengthen communities and each other,” said 16th District Commissioner on Women’s Issues Claudia Ayala. “What I love about each year is embracing the district in which the selected honoree comes from and everything about their issues and solutions, from the City of Berwyn, to the Village of Lyons, every special place has a unsung heroine that is known to all, loved and respected for who they are and what they do for all those around them.I look forward to honoring Mrs. Fiorito alongside Cook County Commissioner Aguilar, Leyden Supervisor Biscaglio, Franklin Park Mayor Pedersen, and the women of Leyden Township and Franklin Park.”

“I am both humbled and honored to receive this award,” Mrs. Fiorito said. “Thank you to everyone who thought of me.”

Debra Fiorito Named 16th District’s Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award Winner


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