State Assemblyman Ed Ra, a Republican from Franklin Square, honored 13 Women of Distinction in the 19th Assembly District at a Sept. 28 ceremony in Albertson. Rita Cona, of Franklin Square, was recognized for her outstanding volunteer work, which, Ra said, makes her community a better place to live, work and raise a family.
“This year’s Women of Distinction award ceremony was a great way to honor those who have continually gone out of their way to make their communities a little brighter,” Ra said. “From serving as teachers to volunteer work in local groups, this year’s slate of honorees is truly remarkable. It was a pleasure to host this event and express our gratitude to these truly wonderful members of our community.”
Cona, a Franklin Square resident for 23 years and the only local woman among the honorees, told the Herald that she was completely surprise when she received a letter in the mail from the assemblyman notifying her that she had been chosen. And it never occurred to her that she was the only woman from Franklin Square being recognized, she said, because there are so many others who could just as easily qualify.
“Considering how many great women there are here, I am very humbled and honored,” Cona said. “Being honored among the women that were awarded was amazing because they all did such great things.”
Cona said she believed it was her extensive volunteer work with local schools and parishes that distinguished her. She has volunteered at St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Franklin Square, and worked with the PTA at both Polk Street Elementary School and H. Frank Carey High School for more than 15 years.
Before getting involved in community service, Cona worked in cosmetology, and also taught religion to pre-schoolers. She is a substitute teacher at the Garden City Community Church Nursery School.
Though she earned the award for her work as a volunteer, Cona said she was most proud of her family life with her husband, Louie, and their children Raquel, Louie Jr. and Angelo. “My greatest accomplishment was raising my children, [and] being a wife, mother and a great friend to those in need,” she said.
“I love the opportunity to help [my children] and their schools,” she added. “Franklin Square is a great place to raise a family, and I’m happy to have helped out over these years to make it a better place.”