KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – In recognition of dedicated service to the community in which she resides, U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Jennifer Franco, International Security Assistance Force Regional Command (South), received the sixth annual Woman of Distinction Award from California State Assemblyman Bill Emmerson.
At a luncheon, Friday, March 26, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif., the award was given in honor of Franco, who is currently deployed to Afghanistan and serving as a Public Affairs officer in the Navy Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.
"I was surprised to receive this award because I feel a great sense of privilege to represent my community in this way," said Franco. "I never thought for a single second I'd ever achieve this recognition at this point in my life."
During the past six years, California State Assembly member Bill Emmerson, 63rd District, has paid tribute to outstanding women in his area who have made a significant difference in their respective communities. There are 11 major cities in Emerson's District and since he represents the 63rd Assembly District, Emmerson selects 63 nominees.
"Out of the high caliber of nominations that I received this year, it was my honor to congratulate Lt. j.g. Franco on being selected as a Woman of Distinction for the year 2010," said Emmerson.
The California State Legislature, comprised of 40 senators and 80 assembly members, has a tradition of selecting a distinguished woman nominee for their district.
"I am very proud of Lt. j.g. Franco," said Lt. Cmdr Keith Taylor, Navy Public Affairs officer in charge of Franco's unit. "She takes the initiative in her duties, and I think this award is befitting her character."
Franco is the director of Intergovernmental and Legislative Affairs for San Bernardino Associated Governments, a county transportation commission for San Bernardino County, California.
"I am so proud that California Assemblyman Bill Emmerson has named Lt. Jennifer Franco as Distinguished Woman of the Year," said Deborah Robinson Barmack, executive director of San Bernardino Associated Governments. "This recognition is well-deserved and applauded by all who work with Jennifer."
A life-long resident of California, Franco earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, in 2000. She also volunteered for the National Model United Nations Conference from 1999 to 2008 and served as secretary-general and spokesperson in 2004.
Franco is currently serving a one-year tour in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where she is helping to establish a new media support center.
"I don't perform my day-to-day responsibilities to receive awards or for recognition. I just I do what I do because that's who I am," said Franco.
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