DRACUT -- The 19th-annual Lowell Women's Week honors a legacy that dates back to the early mill girls of the city's beginnings, speakers said Monday at a kickoff breakfast.
"Lowell is women supporting women," said JoAnn Marcos of the Lowell National Historical Park. "They are the strength of Lowell."
The breakfast, held at Lenzi's in Dracut, featured addresses from U.S. Rep Niki Tsongas and state Sen. Eileen Donoghue, plus a video message from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
This year's Because of Her award, presented to women who go above and beyond, were given to Jane Calvin, Rebecca Duda and Brandi Giles.
"They do work not for the recognition or praise, but give their time quietly, unselfishly and are not typically recognized," said Katelyn Adams of Girls Incorporated of Greater Lowell, who presented the awards. "They truly are the unsung heroes."
Calvin, executive director of the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust, is a Westford resident who was recognized for her work on the Concord River Greenway and the protection of Hawk Valley Farm, as well as other projects.
Duda, a teacher at Lakeview Junior High School in Dracut, wrote the book Dracut Revisited, proceeds of which will benefit the Dracut Scholarship Foundation.
Giles owns Body Destinations in Tyngsboro, as well as volunteering at Lowell General Hospital and in other fundraising endeavors. She provided massage therapy to victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and has helped the Hands for Hospice program with family home visits. Giles was ill Monday and unable to attend the breakfast.
Events scheduled the rest of the week include a Zumba class Monday night, an open mic night Tuesday at the Back Page and a Women's Wellness Fair Wednesday at the Lowell Community Health Center. For a complete schedule and event details, visit http://www.lowellwomensweek.org.
For more on this story, see Tuesday's Sun or visit http://www.lowellsun.com.