Murphy Named Woman Of The Year
Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, of Modesto, has honored local agricultural education advocate and community volunteer Bonner Murphy of Farmington as the 2015 Woman of the Year for the 12th Assembly District.
The recognition came at a Monday, March 9 ceremony in Sacramento.
“Every day, Bonner Murphy gives so much of her time and energy to expanding opportunities for young ag students in our San Joaquin Valley schools,” said Olsen. “Her work in creating AgFest! and raising money for ag education programs has given more students the experience they need to become future farmers and ranchers. I’m pleased to recognize Bonner as the Woman of the Year for the 12th Assembly District.”
Her husband Bill, along with children Rowan and Flynn attended the ceremony while son Dervin served both as her escort and representative for Escalon FFA and AgFest. Also, her mother and two sisters also came, along with four local friends to join in the celebration.
“I didn’t really know what to say when they called from Assemblywoman Olsen’s office to tell me I was her nominee. I am honored to be recognized for projects the local and countywide community believe in,” Murphy said.
Being a nominee was an honor, she said, actually winning the award was icing on the cake
“I am deeply honored to have been chosen by Assembly Member Olsen as her Woman of the Year,” said Murphy. “Strong ag education programs play an important role in preparing our next generation of farmers for their future work. I am hopeful that my recognition will encourage others to join with me in supporting ag education programs in our schools, and providing great learning opportunities for our ag students.”
Murphy has transformed her life’s focus from work in corporate marketing, event planning and fundraising to supporting youth community projects. Promoting agricultural education has been the focus of her community efforts through her work as a member of the San Joaquin-Stanislaus Cattle Women and the California Women for Agriculture.
As fundraising chair for the Escalon Ag-FFA Boosters, she helped to raise over $70,000. The funds were used by the Escalon High School ag department to add laptop computers, charging carts and cabinetry that serve over half of the student body. This year, she is working with Boosters to renovate the school farm at Escalon High School.
When county fairs across the nation were failing, Murphy stepped in to create “AgFest!,” a junior livestock and vocational show featuring traditional livestock competitions, vocational education projects and an auction. In less than six months, she pulled together a group of volunteers to design, fundraise and put on what has become the largest junior show and auction in the history of San Joaquin County. She developed a partnership with the San Joaquin Office of Education's Educational Foundation to save the projects of over 700 youth exhibitors. This year, AgFest! is moving into its second year.
Held annually, the Woman of the Year ceremony celebrates California’s extraordinary women. The first ceremony was held in 1987 to help commemorate Women’s History Month. The event has become an annual Capitol tradition to salute women who have done outstanding community service. Honorees this year were presented with a framed certificate recognizing their outstanding contributions during a ceremony held Monday in the Assembly chambers.
Olsen represents the 12th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes portions of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties in the Central Valley.