At the general meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature on March 7, Legislator Stephanie Bontempi formally recognized Northport resident Sharon Richmond as this year’s County-Wide Woman of Distinction.
Bontempi selected Richmond, a 5th grade educator, as her 2023 nominee due to her unwavering commitment to tackling the scourges of substance abuse and mental health issues. Richmond was inspired to take a proactive role in the community after losing her son and only child, Vincent.
“Sharon turned a horrendous tragedy into something beautiful that can save lives,” said Bontempi. “Substance abuse and mental health matters are difficult to talk about, especially when they are responsible for a family member’s passing. Because of Sharon, formerly taboo topics are becoming a part of mainstream conversations; that’s how real progress will be made.”
Some of the work in which Sharon has been engaged over the years include, but are not limited to, advocating for mental health and addiction awareness in Albany, serving on the Town of Huntington Opioid and Addiction Task Force, advising the legislature on the opioid settlement fund distribution, and volunteering on the Northport-East Northport Drug and Alcohol Task Force. Additionally, Sharon has successfully published numerous articles on matters related to substance abuse and mental health.
The Suffolk County Woman of Distinction program was created by the legislature in 2002 in order to recognize exceptional women across Suffolk County. Each of Suffolk County’s 18 legislators selects a nominee and then the Suffolk County Women’s Advisory Commission chooses the county-wide honoree from those nominations. The month of March was chosen for the program, as it is Women’s History Month.
“I am so pleased with Sharon receiving the county-wide honor,” added Bontempi. “Sharon truly deserves this special recognition for all that she does.”
To learn more about the Suffolk County Women’s Advisory Commission and the Department of Women’s Services, please click here. More information about the Northport-East Northport Drug and Alcohol Task Force can be found here.