Woman of the Year
By Saralyn Richard
I found out in April that the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce would be celebrating me as a Woman of the Year for 2023. The announcement, broadcast live on social media, came as a total surprise—overwhelming to this day. The honor entails participating in an all-day video production, inviting family and friends to accompany you to the Women’s Conference (held on September 15), going up on the stage in front of 1500 people to receive the award, and lots more.
As an educator, I always considered myself a star-maker, rather than a star. I revel when my students receive accolades or limelight, but I’m not all that comfortable receiving them, myself. I’ve struggled with the idea of whether I’m worthy of all this attention.
Over the past four months I’ve given a lot of thought to this and similar issues, and I’ll tell you what I’ve concluded. But first, some background. I was born and raised in Galveston. After college and marriage, I moved to St. Louis and Chicago, where I practiced my profession and learned a lot about life. One of the things I always preached to my students was to give back to the communities that they came from. I poured a lot of time and effort and care into the communities where I worked, but, in the back of my mind, I thought, what about Galveston?
When my husband and I were exploring possible places to live in the future, Galveston called to me. I wanted to be part of the community where I grew up. I wanted to volunteer in ways that would make a difference. Fortunately, everything aligned to make that happen, and we moved here in 2005. Since then, I’ve had interesting jobs, met fascinating people, and volunteered here and there in places that stole my heart. I never expected to be recognized—I was happy contributing to my community.
So that brings me to the Woman of the Year award, for which I am eternally grateful and a little uncomfortable accepting. My ruminations, though, have led me to believe that the award creates a valuable opportunity for reflection and evaluation. It has caused me to embrace all that is precious in the way I spend my time, and it’s given me motivation to recommit to my goals and mission, to live up to the standard of those who were honored before me, and to set an example for those who follow.
I also believe there aren’t enough awards given to worthy women. There are so many wonderful angels who give freely of their time and energy to help others. If you are reading this, you are probably one of them. So I want to share my award with you, Woman of the Year. If we all set our sights on making a difference, we can really change the world.
Award-winning mystery and children’s book author, and BOI (born on island), Saralyn Richard, is also an educator whose journey has taken her to schools in St. Louis, Chicago, and all over the country. Her books, Naughty Nana, Murder in the One Percent, A Palette for Love and Murder, Crystal Blue Murder, Bad Blood Sisters, and A Murder of Principal, have garnered many awards, reviews, and fans.
Saralyn and her husband Ed moved back to Galveston in 2005 with the express intent of serving the community by working and volunteering with various meaningful organizations. Saralyn worked for the Galveston Independent School District, the Southern Regional Education Board, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, The Friends of the Rosenberg Library, The Grand 1894 Opera House, and others.
Years ago, Saralyn was a founding member of the Book Nook committee of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce Women’s Conference. The Book Nook is a group of authors who are strategically selected each year to provide mentorship and support for other women who aspire to write and publish books.