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American Mothers, Inc.® is recognizing these amazing mothers as the 2022 Mother of the Year® award recipients—women from diverse backgrounds and experiences across the nation recognized for their work, resilience and commitment to family and community. These mothers were chosen from every state after a national nomination and selection process led by the organization. American Mothers, Inc. is an 87-year-old non-profit organization whose mission is to recognize mothers and their positive impact in their families and communities through the historic annual Mother of the Year® award.

The state honorees will represent their respective home states at the American Mothers national convention this April. One honoree will be selected as the 2022 National Mother of the Year® at this convention. Since 1935, American Mothers, Inc. has had the honor of searching for and selecting the Mother of the Year® in every state, district and territory in the country.

“Time and time again, we have seen that there is no one like mom, and we at American Mothers for the last 87 years have had the privilege of recognizing the impact mothers have in our lives,” said Joyce Stevens, President of American Mothers, Inc. “Now more than ever, people are seeing the work that goes into motherhood and truly recognizing the resiliency of mothers. It is an honor to be an organization that has built a legacy network of moms across the nation while sharing their stories of strength and inspiration.”

Here are the 2022 Mother of the Year® honorees from across the United States, introduced with a short bio submitted by each honoree. Join us in congratulating each and every one of these amazing mothers!

MEET THE MOMS

Headshot of Antoinette Sands 59th Alabama Mother of the Year

Antoinette Sands

59th Alabama Mother of the Year

While some know her as a singer, model, author, or speaker, Antoinette Sands is foremost a mother of four children (ranging from college to elementary school) and a wife of 24 years. In the middle of her parenting journey, she became a homeschooling mom and developed a passion for equipping kids to live a life of resilience and faith. When experiencing poverty due to a downturn in the market, her eyes were opened to the needs in her community. This began a new season of empathy and awareness. She wrote a book for teens, helping thousands discover their uniqueness, founded children’s choirs and began a kid’s musical theater camp. Recently, she joined a non-profit, directing a summer internship program for inner-city teenagers. She presently coaches and teaches despairing adults in her community. She regularly hosts kids of all ages, she is best known for a home-cooked meal and a listening ear.


Headshot of Claudia Jones 46th Alaska Mother of the Year

Claudia Jones

46th Alaska Mother of the Year

Claudia Jones is a professor teaching at the University of Alaska Anchorage/Mat-Su College. She received a bachelor’s degree in International Trade and Business and a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance. Jones is a trained marketing professional, has an E-Leadership Plus certificate, is bi-lingual (English and Spanish) and teaches Spanish as a second language. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in education, a member of the GSL Network, which forms leaders worldwide, and an honorary member of JUPV AC. This non-profit organization empowers Mexican youth. At Mat-Su College, she is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Committee and the founder of the Spanish Club. She is married, and her and her husband have a handsome five-year old boy. She is Director and Founder of MORE Latinoámerica, a non-profit organization whose objective is to achieve gender equality through training.


Headshot of Elisha Pillow-Daugherty 57th Arkansas Mother of the Year

Elisha Pillow-Daugherty

57th Arkansas Mother of the Year

Of all the accomplishments in Elisha Pillow-Daugherty’s life, the one thing she is most proud of is being a mother to her four children. After a heartbreaking miscarriage and diagnosis, she was told she would not be able to conceive children, but that was not a diagnosis she could accept. Through much prayer and faith, she was blessed with her oldest son Joshua in 2003 and her second son, Jacob in 2005. She married the love of her life, Brad, in 2014 and was given the gift of Anna and McLane. Pillow-Daugherty is a trailblazing entrepreneur, having owned several businesses. She currently owns a multi-million-dollar company, always striving to be on the cutting edge of her industry. She is a humanitarian using her voice to speak out on behalf of the voiceless victims of human trafficking, bringing education and awareness to communities about the dangers of human trafficking.


Headshot of Vanessa Lopez 77th California Mother of the Year

Vanessa Lopez

77th California Mother of the Year

Vanessa was born in Houston, Texas, to wonderful, loving parents. She attended Stanford University, where she met her husband, Robert. She graduated with a Bachelors and a Masters in English literature, and she went on to earn a Masters in Biblical Studies and Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, where she began Protestant and finished Catholic. Robert is Catholic, too, and their happy marriage is centered on their shared faith. They settled in Robert’s Southern California hometown of Cerritos, where Robert works for their city, and Vanessa homeschools their five awesome sons, ages 3 to 15. Vanessa followed in her mother’s footsteps to become a Catechist of the Good Shepherd. Together with her husband and dear friends, she founded the Vox Pastoris Atrium, where she serves as catechist, board member, atrium manager, and communications officer. She also organizes a Catholic women’s book club and has published a few theological essays.


Headshot of Doris Donley 68th Colorado Mother of the Year

Doris Donley

68th Colorado Mother of the Year

Doris Donley has been married to the love of her life, Jack, for 30 years. They have two remarkable children, Tiffany and Kline, and two darling grandsons, Ari and Lincoln. She adores being with family, talking with them daily, and spending time with them. Her favorite part of being a mom is being a grandmother. She also has a passion for mothering others. She volunteered many years with youth and women survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. Her current passion is bringing hockey to individuals with disabilities; bringing sled hockey to her local youth hockey association, acting as her state hockey association’s first director of adaptive hockey, being named the Colorado Avalanche’s Volunteer of the Year and now serving as USA Hockey’s Blind Hockey Representative and the General Manager of its US Blind Hockey Team. Most telling about her is that the novice to elite athletes affectionately refer to her as “mom.”


Headshot of Roxane Ferguson 71st Delaware Mother of the Year

Roxane Ferguson

71st Delaware Mother of the Year

Roxane Ferguson, Executive Director, Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce, has held numerous roles over her 35-year management career. She’s launched a non-profit organization dedicated to scholarship and entrepreneurship, leadership and networking groups. In 2015, she found the first Business Incubator and Collaborative Workspace in Delaware (that has generated 57 businesses, 197 new jobs, and $37 million in revenue). Her longtime service to the Rotary includes co-hosting a weekly radio show on community concerns, co-chairing a barrier-free Can-Do Playground initiative for children of all abilities; volunteering with senior communities; women’s initiatives, and serving as an Honorary Commander, Dover Air Force Base airlift wing. As an effective change agent and dedicated mom, she is an active member of the Delaware Press Association and a sports enthusiast. She enjoys visits to the Poconos and Cape Henlopen. Ferguson resides in Wilmington, Delaware, with her husband Kevin, children Alexis and Zachery and fur babies Oreo and Ella.


Headshot of Vanessa Partin 70th DC Mother of the Year

Vanessa Partin

70th DC Mother of the Year

A native Washingtonian, Vanessa Partin is the eldest daughter of the late Dr. Patricia A. Allen and George Allen, raised in the Washington, DC area, where she attended McKinley Senior High School and Trinity University. Partin credits her upbringing and growth to three tremendously strong women, whom she calls “the three pillars of strength,” her great-grandmother, the late Mother Ora Bell Woods, her grandmother, the Late Evangelist Jessie B. Davis, and her mother, the late Dr. Patricia Allen. She was married to her high school sweetheart, the late Deacon Willie “Petey” Partin. Together the Lord blessed them with three children and 15 gifted grandchildren, and a great-grandson. Partin enjoys spending time with her family, teaching them the importance of sharing God-given resources. She is intentional in Ministry loves God and God’s People! Her mantra is: “Blessed to be a blessing to others.”


Headshot of Kristen Brown 50th Florida Mother of the Year

Kristen Brown

50th Florida Mother of the Year

Kristen Brown is the Founder and Director of TRIBE, a community-focused non-profit that integrates unique learning experiences, family support, and strategic outreach with a focus on the wellness of children and families. TRIBE offers more than 50 fun and educational activities per week, each for only $5, and also provides free donated clothing and shoes to local families. TRIBE has served more than 1700 families, and Brown oversees a team of nearly 130 volunteers who lead programs and activities at TRIBE. Before founding TRIBE, Brown spent 12 years as Regional Director for All American Youth Activities in Tampa and served as Director of Client Services for Adelante Live, Inc. for 10 years. Brown is a graduate of the University of South Florida and a member of the School Advisory Committee for Broward and Seminole Heights Elementary schools. In 2021,  Kristen was honored by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vinik Family Foundation as a “Community Hero.” The DeBartolo Family Foundation also awarded her the “Spirit of Humanity” award.


Headshot of Natalie Fikes 73rd Georgia Mother of the Year

Natalie Fikes

73rd Georgia Mother of the Year

Natalie Fikes is a devoted mother and lifelong mentor committed to developing personal and professional resources to enhance how we live, love, and do life together. Despite growing up in an unstable, verbally and physically abusive environment, Fikes beat the odds by moving out on her own at 16 years old, graduating high school, and quickly establishing a successful corporate career. She then began a personal development journey that completely transformed her life. She has been named one of John Maxwell’s Top 100 Leaders for Youth and Family, Orator of the Year by ACHI Magazine, and “Best Speaker of Today” by Northstar Meetings Group. Her most valued accomplishments have been the relentless pursuit of breaking the generational cycle of abuse in her family, raising her sister Sarah and two sons Elijah and Jayden. For the countless lives, she has touched in meaningful ways both knowingly and unknowingly. 


Headshot of Cheryl Ho 48th Hawaii Mother of the Year

Cheryl Ho

48th Hawaii Mother of the Year

Cheryl Ho was born and raised in Hawaii. Despite living in paradise, her childhood was riddled with abuse. She courageously fled that situation only to find financial hardships and many nights sleeping on the floor with little to eat. Turning past pain into passion, she has spent many years giving back to her community. She brings her family along with any chance she gets, sowing the seeds of compassion into her children. She has been married to the love of her life, Dayton, for over 15 years, and together, they share five beautiful children, elementary to college-aged. Stay-at-home mom turned Mrs. Hawaii International. Ho seeks to encourage other mothers to pursue their dreams no matter where they start. 


Headshot of Charity Haderlie 72nd Idaho Mother of the Year

Charity Haderlie

72nd Idaho Mother of the Year

Charity Haderlie has the best job in the world; she’s mother to four amazing children and wife to her sweetheart, Michael. She also happens to be an accomplished speaker, business & mindset coach and she and her husband also own and operate multiple successful businesses. Known for brainwashing people into believing in themselves, Charity also understands how to lay out proven strategies and pathways in order to get results. When Charity takes her business hats off, she can be found enjoying time with her favorite people in the whole world-her family. She loves playing volleyball, singing at the top of her lungs, running barefoot across the lawn, and experiencing delicious ethnic foods and cultures. If she could have one wish, it would be that books come bundled with extra plush blankies.


Headshot of Rachel Ternstrom 72nd Illinois Mother of the Year

Rachel Ternstrom

72nd Illinois Mother of the Year

Rachel Ternstrom is a mother of two who currently lives with her husband in the suburbs of Chicago. She graduated from DePaul University and worked in the Recruiting and Sales industry for many years before becoming a stay-at-home mother to her two daughters, Presley and Goldie. She has a passion for interior styling and home decor, which is where she spends most of her time outside of her family life. 


Headshot of Nancy Boettger 73rd Iowa Mother of the Year

Nancy Boettger

73rd Iowa Mother of the Year

Nancy (Abrahamson) Boettger grew up in Evanston, Illinois, in a loving Christian-Swedish family. After graduating from high school Nancy attended Iowa State University, where she earned a BS in sociology and met the love of her life, Dave. She taught special education for a year and then stayed home for the next 15 years to work beside Dave on their farm and raise their three sons and one daughter. In the early 1980s, she earned a BA in education and taught middle school. She then became the Director of Education at the hospital in Harlan. Boettger was elected to the Iowa Senate in 1994 and represented portions of Western Iowa there for 20 years before retiring. She served as assistant majority leader, assistant minority leader, and chaired several committees. In 2017, the Governor appointed her to the Iowa Board of Regents, the governing board for Iowa’s pubic universities and special schools, where she continues to serve today. She and Dave are very active grandparents to their 16 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Headshot of Sierra Roberts 57th Kansas Mother of the Year

Sierra Roberts

57th Kansas Mother of the Year

Sierra Roberts believes in loving life and living every day to the fullest. She is creative, intelligent, and empathetic, with a hard work ethic. She values pouring into herself to be the best for those around her and finish each day on empty. Roberts loves spending time with her son, Owen, her entire world. She works as a lash and hair extension artist and real estate agent and has started a couple of new companies over the past year. Her goal is to make every day the best day and create a life for her and her son that they never need a vacation from.


Headshot of Patricia Clark 61st Maine Mother of the Year

Patricia Clark

61st Maine Mother of the Year

Patricia Clark lives with her husband Bill, geriatric cat Tobi, and puppy Pedro. She has two daughters, Jocelyn (in France) and Erin (her husband, Steve and their two children in New Hampshire). She earned a BA in Journalism and French from Midland College, Fremont (NE) and BS in Education from the University of Nebraska. Clark taught elementary and kindergarten for 20 years and returned for her MS in Special Education after watching children struggle. She came to the University of Maine as professor and Early Childhood Studies director and earned a CAS in Early Intervention/Special Education and Public Policy. In collaboration with Head Start, she designed one of the first all-day kindergartens in Maine. Clark served as Head Start Fellow in Washington DC from 2007-2008, providing training and technical assistance to families throughout the US, and then served as a National Women’s Law Fellow in 2008, advocating for Maine children and families. 


Headshot of Dr. Tasheka L. Green 62nd Maryland Mother of the Year

Dr. Tasheka L. Green

62nd Maryland Mother of the Year

Dr. Tasheka L. Green is a wife, mother, influential educator, transformational coach, thought-provoking speaker, visionary, 15-time best-selling author, and more. With over 20 years of experience as an educator, and viewing leadership, not as a title or position, but a calling with a greater purpose, allowed Dr. Green to birth To Everything There is a Season, Inc. The work of Dr. Green has been featured in the Harvard University School of Education, Harvard edX Course, Introduction to Data Wise: A Collaborative Process to Improve Learning & Teaching, among others. She is also the founder and host of two talk shows, “Reflect, Assess, and Adjust” and “Moms We See You.” Dr. Green is married to William Green Sr., and they have three beautiful children: Marquis (24), Mikayla (11), and William Jr. (9). 


"Headshot of October Dalene Basden 46th Massachusetts Mother of the Year"

Dalene Basden

46th Massachusetts Mother of the Year

Dalene Basden is a Family Support Specialist from Lynn, Massachusetts. In 2012, she became the first Nationally Certified Parent Support Provider in Massachusetts. An African-American parent of three, with two boys who have mental health challenges, Basden has experienced first-hand racial disparities in health care. Her response to this inequality earned her the Rebeka Lee Award from the Harvard School of Public Health. In 2007, she earned her certification as a SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) leader with the Wellesley Centers for Women. She uses her personal experience and expertise as a platform to inform and enlighten others about social injustices by engaging her community, particularly those affected by bias and racism, in conversations of race, culture and intolerance. Basden and her family are avid Boston sports fans and, in their spare time, coordinate, coach and support Special Olympics MA, encouraging full inclusion of youth participation in sports.


Headshot of October Allen 55th Minnesota Mother of the Year

October Allen

55th Minnesota Mother of the Year

October Allen is 41 years old and lives works and loves the great city of Duluth, Minnesota. She is married to Pastor Ron Allen and has four children. Allen has a German Shepard dog named Shane and loves to go on dog walks with him. She has a degree in Human Services and was a non-traditional student who graduated college at 38. Allen was the student of the year and gave the commencement speech at her college graduation. She spoke on service and using your testimony to show others that your story can inspire and empower people to do more than they ever thought possible. She has a heart for people and loves to serve and serve well. Her hobbies include decorating and planning activities and events, mostly surrounding food. She is a Sunday School teacher and enjoys caring for school-age children. Allen engages her teenage kids in helping serve the community and loves to see its joy to their lives.


Headshot of Amanda St. Pierre 62nd Missouri Mother of the Year

Amanda St. Pierre

62nd Missouri Mother of the Year

Amanda St. Pierre is a devout Christian wife, mother, and businesswoman. She is happily married and has loved raising her four beautiful children with her loving and hard-working husband of 14 years. When she became a mother 12 years ago, St. Pierre prioritized staying at home with her children to raise and homeschool them. For the last three years, she has also found time to become the owner and CEO of an upscale children’s boutique called Little Blue Eyes Boutique. Another priority in her motherhood journey has been to maintain a safe, comfortable, stable environment for her family as they’ve navigated multiple cross-country moves and home renovations with her husband Ben’s relocation for work. This challenge grew even greater in 2018 when her oldest daughter was diagnosed with cancer. A year into her daughter’s cancer treatment process, St. Pierre was inspired to bring Little Blue Eyes Boutique to life. Created originally to bring a bit of fun and distraction to her daughter, the boutique has grown to serve over three thousand other mothers.


Headshot of Kimmera Vogt 77th Nebraska Mother of the Year 2022

Kimmera Vogt

77th Nebraska Mother of the Year

At the age of 30, Kimmera Vogt became a mother to son Taylor, then daughter Tessa followed by son Trey. She chased these three around while working full-time as a nurse. When the kids got older, she was known as “Mama Kim” to the “strays”—her children’s friends who came by needing a hug, hot meal, a place to stay, shoulder to cry on or a kick in the rear to get them back on the right path. Living in a small town where sports rule, Vogt is an advocate for the performing arts program at school. In 2011, she went back to school and became a Licensed Massage Therapist believing in the power of touch. She now owns a successful business and recently retired from her nursing license after 29 years. Vogt lost the love of her life, David, in January of 2021 and has taken on the new role of a single mom. She lives with her two dogs and loves being “Nana” to her three-year-old granddaughter.


Headshot of Dianna Klein 64th Nevada Mother of the Year

Dianna Klein

64th Nevada Mother of the Year

Dianna Klein is a wife, mother, veteran and pilot for United Airlines. An entrepreneur, Klein founded Shenandoah Aviation, LLC, specializing in aviation business operations. During the pandemic, she seized the opportunity to take leave from United to join Zero-Gravity Corporation as pilot and Director of Business Operations. She is the first woman qualified by the FAA to fly aerobatics in an airliner. Having achieved her dream career, she dedicates her time to giving back. Klein chaired the gala committee for BE. A SHERO Foundation and serves on the board of the local chapter of Women in Aviation. She also founded Take Flight to Fight the Opioid Epidemic, introducing youth to aviation by piloting their first flight to set sights on dreams rather than drugs. During the COVID-19 lockdown, she organized a grassroots effort providing 300+ meals to those recovering from addiction who once experienced homelessness.


Headshot of Jane Davidson 61st New Hampshire Mother of the Year

Jane Davidson

61st New Hampshire Mother of the Year

Jane Davidson grew up in Waltham, Massachusetts. While in college, she met the man whom she would be married to for 52 years and counting. They moved to Germany in 1971 and spent eight and a half years teaching ESL and traveled throughout Europe. She had a beautiful girl while in Germany, and they moved back to New Hampshire, and two and a half years later had twin girls. She worked at a kindergarten three days a week to pay for the girls’ tuition, two days at a local company, and then working weekends as a cook in a resort. No days off during those years! There have been hardships for her girls, including anorexia, date rape, sexual identity issues and opiate addiction, but she and her family worked together to help the child in need, and continue to do so. To her, family and raising socially conscientious daughters is one of the most important things in life.


Headshot of Consuelo Cordova 46th New Mexico Mother of the Year

Consuelo Cordova

46th New Mexico Mother of the Year

Consuelo Cordova was born on February 13, 1931 in Gallup, New Mexico—the tenth of eleven children (eight girls and three boys). While most people consider 13 an unlucky number, she considers it lucky. At birth, half of her siblings were already married with children—making her an aunt as an infant. When Cordova was seven years old, her mother died suddenly of natural causes. Her father never remarried, which required the three children remaining at home to nurture and support each other. She graduated from Cathedral High School in Gallup with a scholarship to the College of Saint Joseph’s in Albuquerque where she met her future husband. Cordova’s pursuit of her college and post-graduate degrees was accomplished over more than 20 years, achieved while raising nine children. She dedicated the next 20 years to teaching children in the following towns: Gallina, Cuba, Santa Fe, Zuni and Los Lunas, New Mexico.


Headshot of Demetria Davis 58th North Carolina Mother of the Year

Demetria Davis

58th North Carolina Mother of the Year

Demetria Davis is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina. She attended the University of South Carolina on a full Track and Field scholarship. She has a BS in Exercise Science and a master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum. While traveling the world as a professional athlete endorsed by Nike, Davis earned a gold medal in the 2003 World Championships in Paris, France. She has been married for 12 years to retired CPT Christopher Davis, and they have five children and one granddaughter. As a pastor alongside her husband, serving god and her family are important to her. Her heart is in serving and leaving a legacy that builds the hearts of those around her. She is the current 2021 Mrs. South Carolina International and the 2021 Mrs. International 1st runner-up. She also serves people through food with her private chef and catering business, Dee’s Champion Cuisine, where her motto is “Cuisine with a Champion Flare… It’s a Lifestyle.”


"Headshot of Chelsey Strand 73rd North Dakota Mother of the Year"

Chelsey Strand

73rd North Dakota Mother of the Year

Chelsey Strand is a 29-year-old North Dakota native. She resides in Fargo with her family, where she was born and raised. She is the mother of Raelyn (21 months) and Lincoln (three months). For four years, Strand has been married to her college sweetheart, Tyler. She is a licensed social worker providing mental health services to children and has worked at Sanford Health for five years. She is passionate about working with children and their families and prides herself in being involved in various organizations. Most recently, she started a Fargo chapter of Box of Balloons and is the co-leader of this non-profit. Strand fits perfectly with this organization as she enjoys parties and making others feel celebrated. She is a lover of coffee, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Her family enjoys walks, storytime, and movie nights. Friends would describe her as compassionate, giving, and kind. 


Headshot of Robyn Sunday-Allen 76th Oklahoma Mother of the Year

Robyn Sunday-Allen

76th Oklahoma Mother of the Year

Robyn Sunday-Allen (Cherokee) currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic. She attended the University of Oklahoma, where she received her BA in Psychology, BSN in Nursing, and MPH. She is currently on the Board of Advisors for Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce; State of Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce; New View Oklahoma; Oklahoma Quality Foundation. She is also a Graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City Class XXIX and Leadership Oklahoma Class XXVI. She has been recognized for her work and leadership with the Indian Health Service’s Lifetime Achievement Award; Luana Reyes Leadership Award; The Journal Record’s 50 Making a Difference Woman of the Year Honoree 2009, 2010, and 2012; The Journal Record’s Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEO Honoree 2009-2011; and was inducted as the first-ever CEO in Oklahoma’s Circle of Excellence. An Oklahoma Proclamation from Gov. Brad Henry declares November 14 Robyn Sunday-Allen Day. She is married to Russell and they have one son, Eli. 


Headshot of Tracy Purdy 52nd Pennsylvania Mother of the Year

Tracy Purdy

52nd Pennsylvania Mother of the Year

Tracy Purdy and her husband of 33 years, Jay, are the parents of three daughters. She has an MS in City Planning and a BS in Community Development from Temple University. She is active in her church, having served as the women’s auxiliary president, regional youth leader, director of the Family History Center, and currently serves as the editor of the newsletter. She works in Community Development in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, serving on various civic committees and non-profit boards. She was an adjunct professor of Community Development and City Planning at Temple University. In 2018, Purdy bought and renovated a 115-year-old house into a successful bed-and-breakfast called the Three Daughters Inn. This venture blends her passion for community-building with her lifelong love of hospitality, gardening, and breakfast! She uses the inn to promote other small businesses and her town.


Headshot of Zorimar Betancourt 69th Puerto Rico Mother of the Year

Zorimar Betancourt

69th Puerto Rico Mother of the Year

Zorimar Betancourt was born on April 30, 1967, and attended high school in Puerto Rico. In 1989, she graduated from Emory University School of Business with a degree in accounting. She married in 1993 in Holland and had two children, Stefano and Anna. In 2003, she divorced and moved back to Puerto Rico with her children to establish her own jewelry design business in order to have the flexibility to be a hands-on mom and businesswoman. Stefano was born in 1995 and three years later, Anna Isabelle came to complete her family. Unexpectedly, at the age of 17, Stefano was shot in the head during a carjacking in June 2012 in Dorado, Puerto Rico. After her son’s death in 2012, she created the Stefano Steenbakkers Betancourt Foundation, an organization that helps grieving parents heal, create awareness about organ donation, and does missionary work in and out of Puerto Rico.


Headshot of Michelle Ristuccia 34th Rhode Island Mother of the Year

Michelle Ristuccia

34th Rhode Island Mother of the Year

Michelle Ristuccua is married to medicine and to her family. She is a full-time Surgical Physician Assistant, providing night coverage so that she can be a full-time mother to her two children, ages ten and six, by day. She is selfless in all that she does, parenting, volunteering in the community and at work. 


Headshot of Holly Vega 71st South Carolina Mother of the Year

Holly Vega

71st South Carolina Mother of the Year

Holly Vega is a connector and a supporter, striving daily to connect military families to resources while supporting military spouses to collaborate to pursue their dreams. She is a heart health advocate and believes that education is the key to personal and professional growth. She is a Marine Corps spouse and has been married to her Marine for 21 years. Vega is a proud mother of three kids, two parrots, four chickens, one rooster, one dog, slew of fishes and a pear tree. When she is not tending to her small farm, “Sweet Tea Island,” you will find her volunteering or planning an event. In 2020, Vega officially co-founded a non-profit organization, Military Hearts Matter (“MHM”). Together with a board, volunteers, and ambassadors of military spouses and veterans, the organization is paving the way to fully support the military heart community. 


Headshot of Shana Smith 65th Tennessee Mother of the Year

Shana Smith

65th Tennessee Mother of the Year

Shana Smith is the wife to Grant and mother to her three beautiful children. In 2006, she decided to get her foster care license and become a single foster parent. In 2007, she married her best friend, Grant, a soldier in the US Army. As a newly-married couple, they adopted their first child in 2008. Several years and a cross-country move later, in 2015, the Smiths became foster parents again, adopting their second child in 2016. In an amazing turn of events, their family was joined by a sweet baby boy in 2019 via private adoption. During their tenure as foster parents, Smith and her family had approximately 20 children enter their home. She is grateful for each child and the impact they each had on her life, as well as the love she hopes they felt in their home. She owns and operates a virtual executive assistant company in Tennessee. She is a proud entrepreneur, military spouse, mother and advocate for change in the foster care and adoption community.


Headshot of Jessica Dunn 70th Texas Mother of the Year

Jessica Dunn

70th Texas Mother of the Year

Jessica Dunn has benefited from so many unique life experiences, good and bad, but they have led her to want to help make her family, community, friends, and life better. She has worked in the non-profit sector for 16 years, working disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, changing Texas State Laws, and rebuilding non-profit organizations through her leadership. She sits on non-profit boards, volunteers in her community, and is the founder of Make 380 Safe, a grassroots initiative with over 11,400 supporters to better the Highway 380 corridor and make the highway safer. She is a mother to her two sons, Jackson (12) and Cooper (8), wife to Josh for 13 years. 


Headshot of Nancy Kennedy 74th Utah Mother of the Year

Nancy Kennedy

74th Utah Mother of the Year

Nancy Stratford Kennedy is a native Utahn born into a service- and community-minded family. She graduated from Utah State University with a degree in secondary education, fought forest fires for four summers, served a religious mission to Spain, and worked as an intern for Senator Orrin Hatch. She has interspersed raising her five children by teaching in various capacities. She has taught college-level courses at USU and Bridgerland Technical College and was a monthly presenter on KSL’s Studio Five cooking segment. Kennedy loves to travel and has been blessed with many opportunities to see the world. She’s also been a leader in the community, serving in the Civic Improvement Club, hospital board, and as president of Piecemakers Quilt Guild. Her children have all graduated college and served missions for their church. She has five grandchildren, two more due in the spring, and loves being a grandma.


Headshot of Tracy Purdy 52nd Pennsylvania Mother of the Year

Tracey Hemond

63rd Vermont Mother of the Year

Tracey Hemond is a 48-year-old woman who has been married to her husband, Michael, for 27 years. She is a mother to four amazing children and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren. She adopted her youngest child 13 years ago after being in foster care for nearly four years. Hemond has also opened up her heart and home to 19 exchange students over the past 15 years, and she loves them like her own—family means everything to her. Her husband had a terrible work-related accident 15 years ago that resulted in him having both of his legs amputated below the knees and severe burns over most of his body. She was trained to do all of his care before he was able to leave the hospital. Hemond has made it her mission over the past several years to give back to her community in any way she can. Her community was there for her family 15 years ago, and she will never forget that. 


Headshot of Kristi Goode 59th West Virginia Mother of the Year

Kristi Goode

59th West Virginia Mother of the Year

Kristi Lynn Goode was born in Charleston, West Virginia. She is a graduate of West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Goode was a featured twirler for the WVU Marching Band and a competition baton twirler. She was a twirling ambassador to Peru with the Lion’s Club. Her career in nursing started as a Registered Nurse in the hospital’s medical-surgical units. Goode began her coaching journey as a certified 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach, then expanded her nutrition education by becoming a certified Transformational Nutrition, Macro & Fitness Coach. She opened her own business called Love Livin’ Low Sugar, LLC. She also serves on the Healthy Harrison Committee as their Eat Coordinator. She resides in Bridgeport with her husband, Chris, their two sons, Colby (18), Kaden (14) and dog, Duke.


Headshot of Lisa Witt 45th Wisconsin Mother of the Year

Lisa Witt

45th Wisconsin Mother of the Year

Lisa Witt grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in education. While teaching middle school English, she pursued her Master’s Degree in Professional Development in Education. She married Chad Witt in 1989, gave birth to Grace in July of 2002, and Ian, in 2006, has Down Syndrome. After several moves from South Dakota, Colorado, and Iowa, they finally landed in Wisconsin. After 15 years in education, she founded WittFitt, a company based on her passion for incorporating movement into the classroom using active furniture. In their community of Hudson, she and Chad became advocates for people with special needs. They coach Special Olympics Track, assist in coordinating an inclusive hockey program, and speak [with Ian at their side] to Augsburg College students about raising Ian and life in a special needs family. Additionally, Witt is the Hudson School District’s Special Education Parent Liaison.


For general media inquiries or to set up an interview with a Mother of the Year® honoree, email news@americanmothers.org. Nominations for Mother of the Year® are accepted annually, Mothers Day – September 15.