The award ceremony, which took place at the Duxbury Senior Center, is an annual tradition that honors the spirit of Priscilla Mullins Alden, who in Longfellowâ€™s poem â€œThe Courtship of Myles Standishâ€ famously told her suitor, John Alden, â€œspeak for thyself John.â€
The event is sponsored by the Alden Kindred, descendants of John and Priscilla who are still active in the community today.
On Saturday the award was given to four women, who were all in attendance at the Senior Center. Tania Cooper Patriota is the United Nations Population Fund representative to Haiti, where she works, promoting womenâ€™s health. Therese Murray is president of the Massachusetts Senate. Dorothy Bicknell is the president of Project Gurnet & Bug Light and Joanne Moore is the Director of the Duxbury Council on Aging.
Emcee Jim Fagan praised all the women for their dedication to their respective communities, repeating one of his favorite quotes: â€œWe make a living by what we earn but we make a life by what we do.â€
Jim Baker of the Alden Kindred also thanked the eveningâ€™s honorees.
â€œThank you for speaking out and providing all the work that you do,â€ he said.
Patriota, who is married to the Brazilian ambassador and has ties to Plymouth and the Alden Kindred, talked about her work promoting safe motherhood in Haiti, where there is a high rate of mortality during birth.
â€œMy current assignment is the most challenging of all,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s been an uphill struggle but itâ€™s also been a most gratifying experience.â€
Murrayâ€™s introduction from Fagan was short but sweet.
â€œI have no use for politicians, but Terry I am in awe of,â€ he said, eliciting a chuckle from the crowd. â€œSheâ€™s at the Statehouse daily, sheâ€™s on the news nightly, and she still finds time to remember her roots.â€
Murray talked about her own work with orphanages in Russia, and talked about her own upbringing.
â€œWe were brought up to believe we could do anything we wanted to do,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s true, everybody can make a difference.
Alden â€œRinkâ€ Rinquist had high praise for Duxburyâ€™s Dorothy â€œDollyâ€ Bicknell, a tireless fundraiser and former tennis champion who has worked to help restore the historic lighthouses in Duxbury.
â€œShe has done a phenomenal job and is a great person to work for,â€ Ringquist said.
The last honoree of the evening was Moore, who was also the host at the senior center.
â€œIf you know what goes on here, itâ€™s unbelievable,â€ said Ringquist.
Moore was visibly moved by the honor.
â€œThis award is special because itâ€™s about women and the many roles we play,â€ she said.
Throughout the evening, the women being honored were aware of the history of the award and the woman for whom it was named.
â€œWorking to improve the lives of women ... If Priscilla Mullins was around, I think she would approve,â€ said Patriota.