WILKES-BARRE — Patrice Persico’s parents, Dr. Tom and Joyce Rittenhouse, celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary by witnessing their daughter receive the 2016 ATHENA Award.
The award, given at Tuesday night’s “Extraordinary People Inspiring Community Celebration” at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, honors an individual for professional excellence, community service and assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.
Sponsored by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, the international award is sponsored locally by Riggs Asset Management.
Persico, of Shavertown, director of alumni relations and annual giving at King’s College, was “humbled” by the honor.
“To join such an outstanding group of previous recipients who dedicated themselves to our community is very humbling,” Persico said.
On Wednesday, Persico reflected on the award, talking about her family and how supportive her husband and children have been. She and her husband, Attorney Joseph Persico, have three children: Timothy, 32; Elise, 31; and Jay, 28.
“We have a very close family,” she said. “I rely on them for their support and counsel.”
Persico has learned a lot from her community service and from her work at King’s College.
“I truly feel I get as much out of it as I give,” she said. “Like that time-honored quote from Luke: ‘to whom much is given, much will be required.’ I feel part of my duty has always been to be a good citizen.
When the Chamber announced Persico as the ATHENA Award winner, Mary Erwine, president of Erwine Home Health & Hospice and chamber vice chair and nominator, said in a press release: “Patrice ’s active participation in both professional and volunteer endeavors exhibits her keen sense of pride for the region and her desire to advance Northeastern Pennsylvania as a place for all to live and prosper.”
Chamber CEO Wico van Genderen said Persico’s business accomplishments reflect three decades of leadership in three of the community’s key sectors — academia, business and community.
“Her contributions to the community are indeed epic,” he said.
Also honored at the chamber event were:
• Terry Ooms, executive director of the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development, as winner of the initial Innovator of the Year Award.
• Kathy Bankes, private dinner manager at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Wolfgang Puck and Elixir Bistro and an emp0loyee of Metz Culinary Management, received the Volunteer of the Year Award. Bankes serves on several area charities.