Mayor Garner Honors Local Women for Women's History Month

Published on March 04, 2024


Celebrating the Service and Dedication of three Wyandotte County Women 

On Thursday, March 7, 2024, Mayor Tyrone A. Garner will issue a proclamation during the Full Commission meeting, declaring March 8, 2024, International Women’s Day and March as Women's History Month. During the meeting, he will also recognize three Wyandotte County women who are making a positive impact in our community and beyond.

"Women’s History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women throughout history as well as a time to reflect on the specific contributions that local women have made to our community. I am proud to recognize three women who are activists, artists, and neighborhood leaders making an impact in Wyandotte County. Please join me in celebrating these incredible and inspiring leaders: Sister Therese Bangert, Carole Newton and Rose Marie Mendez."

2024 Women’s History Month Honorees

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Sister Therese Bangert

Sister Therese Bangert grew up on a Nebraska farm with 7 sisters and 4 brothers. She has been a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth for 60 years. Sister taught primary school and special needs children and was a childcare worker for children who were forced out of their own homes because of abuse and abandonment.

For the past 40 years she has led prayer in prisons and jails. Since 1987, Sister has been a lobbyist at the Kansas State Capital, working with legislators on issues such as immigration, tax policy, programs that impact low-income families and the death penalty issue. Since 1996, Sr Therese has served as a volunteer police chaplain – serving at the scene of homicides in Kansas City, Kansas and at the deaths of three of our Wyandotte County law enforcement community.

She has served sixteen years as the Coordinator of Social Justice and currently serves on the Boards of Community Housing of Wyandotte County and the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty. One thing sister does for “fun” is go to the farm at harvest time and ride the combine and grain trucks with her nephew and brothers.

. . . but above Sister says, “she strives to be a Gospel-Centered woman who believes in Jesus and His Message in Matthew 25”.

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Carole F. Newton

Carole F. Newton was born on September 15, 1936, in Kansas City, Kansas, where she was raised and has lived most of her adult life. Ms. Newton is a 1954 graduate of Sumner High School. After high school, she graduated from Donnelly College and continued her education at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Ms. Newton was employed as a Federal Agent by Federal Aviation Administration, traveling and working in Brussels, Italy, England, Scotland, Egypt, and Turkey. Ms. Newton retired from the FAA in December of 2000. She has been an active member of Strangers Rest Baptist Church for over 60 years, serving as the Church Secretary for over 23 years. She is also a member of the Deaconess Board, an Adult Sunday School teacher, and one of the founders and members of the church's Grief Ministry as well as a Facilitator of the church's Bereavement Support Group.

Ms. Newton has been an active member of the Strugglers Hill Neighborhood Association for more than 20 years and a member of the Unified Government’s Land Bank Advisory Board. Currently, Ms. Newton is President of the Livable Neighborhoods Executive Board.

Ms. Newton believes and encourages all residents to be active in our community to ensure that their voices be heard for changes to happen.  Her husband Harl created one big family to share and love.

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Rose Marie Mendez

Rose Marie Mendez was born August 13, 1944, and grew up in the Armourdale neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas. After graduating Argentine High School in 1963, she spent time in Michoacán Mexico studying music, dance, and culture. In 1965, she opened the Fine Arts Center at St. Thomas School to bring art to neighborhood children. In 1966, supported by family, friends and her parents, Rose Marie started several dance programs, focusing on dances from Mexico on school playgrounds in the area. By 1970, her dance troupes were showcasing their talents at summer socials throughout the community, as well as in Wichita, Garden City, and Oklahoma. In November of 1972, Rose Marie had the honor to dance for Cesar Chavez, national labor leader and civil rights activist, who was a featured speaker at Penn Valley Community College.

Ms. Mendez continues to teach children and adults traditional dances from Mexico, performing all over our region. She has received numerous awards and participated on several boards including YWCA National Board of Directors and since 1990, serves as a commissioner representing Mexico for the Kansas City, Missouri Ethnic Enrichment Commission.