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2 Treasure Coast residents among new inductees to Florida Women's Hall of Fame

State hosts virtual ceremony Thursday
Alma Lee Joy and E. Thelma Waters
Posted at 1:20 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 18:35:00-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Two Treasure Coast women were among those inducted Thursday evening into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced in November that Alma Lee Loy of Indian River County and E. Thelma Waters of Martin County would be bestowed this honor.

Waters, a resident of Indiantown, has been a leading force in her community for civil rights.

In the late 1960s, she opened up her own day care center to offer affordable child care options to local farm workers.

She served as the director of the East Coast Migrant Head Start for 10 years, where she held monthly meetings for parents and taught workers English for them to gain a better understanding of what their children were learning.

Waters advocated passionately for health care in Indiantown, leading to the American Friends Service Committee assisting her in establishing a full clinic with its own doctors and dentists to serve the community.

Her next area of focus became establishing affordable and quality housing in Indiantown. Waters helped facilitate the first neighborhood of affordably priced houses in 1973.

Alma Lee Loy, formerly of Vero Beach, is known as the First Lady of Vero Beach.

She is an original member of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and in 1965 was appointed to the Florida Association of Women's Safety Leaders.

Loy became one of the state's first female sports columnists, writing under the name "Duffer Dan" for the Vero Beach Press Journal.

The first woman elected to the Indian River County Commission, Loy later became its first female chairman and one of Florida's first women to head a county commission.

She received the Florida "Spirit of the Community" award in 2018, given to positive role models for women and girls.

Loy also operated her own children's clothing store in Vero Beach for 42 years.

She was a mentor to young people and adults who admired her knowledge and opinions and her involvement in her community.

Created in 1982, the Florida Women's Hall of Fame honors women who made significant contributions to the improvement of life for women and all Florida citizens through their lives and efforts.

Inductees are deemed pioneers who have broken down barriers, created new opportunities and championed issues to better Florida and its people. They are immortalized on an honorary wall in the halls of the Florida Capitol.

Each year, the governor selects three nominees from recommendations presented by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.

The 2020 Florida Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be hosted online Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Friends and family of E. Thelma Walters plan to host an in-person celebration at Timers Power Park Riding Arena in Indiantown beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Click here to register for the free online event.