Prominent personal injury lawyer Paul D’Amato recalls the influence powerful women have had in history and in his own family and career.
By Paul D’Amato, Esq.
I recently read an article on the most influential and important women in history. Following the Civil War Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, who worked as a surgeon during the conflict on the Union side and was captured as a Prisoner of War by the Confederates, was awarded the Congregational Medal of Honor for her show of bravery during the war. Incidentally she is, to this day, the only woman to have received this honor.
There was Women’s Rights Activist Alice Paul, who, in 1923 was instrumental in proposing The Equal Rights Amendment. It only took the United States Congress until the 1970s to approve this amendment. And we could not forget Rosa Parks, the Civil Rights Activist, who refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her defiance sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Its success launched nationwide efforts to end racial segregation in public facilitates.
How many times have you heard the name Florence Nightingale, who was born in 1820 and died in 1910? If there was ever a true hero who dedicated her life to helping others, Florence Nightingale is that person. Born in Italy in 1820, Florence went against what was traditionally expected of her by becoming a war-hero nurse. As a young woman she moved to London to help care for British Soldiers. This was the first time that a woman had officially been allowed to serve in the Army. When she first arrived in November 1854, the Army doctors wanted nothing to do with her. Florence would not go away and, because of her tenacity, she was eventually accepted to work in saving the lives of injured soldiers.
Coco Chanel changed the face of fashion forever. She lead the way in luxury fashion and today her brand, led by its Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld, sells clothes, perfume, handbags and watches. Almost 100 years after it was first created, Chanel No. 5 is still probably the world’s most famous perfume.
When we talk of influential women, we must mention Mother Teresa. She was born in 1910 and passed in 1997. In September 2016 it was announced that Mother Teresa was being named as a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1929 she travelled to India and ended up dedicating her life to helping poor people. She described her work as God’s work. In 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize.
When you look at the list of women that have had an impact on the world, you have to mention British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the 91-year-old Queen of England Queen Elizabeth II, and of course Oprah Winfrey.
After I finished reading this article I thought about the women that have had such an impact in my life. There is Grace Anselmo D’Amato… my mother. Here is a lady who was raised in an orphanage until age 13. Due to economics she had to drop out of high school, and later in life, educated herself to be one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known. I remember the day so clearly when we were in the backyard of our home in Margate and she overheard me talking to my friends about certain difficult challenges that I was then experiencing. She called me into the kitchen and pointed to a glass of water. She said “Paul, is it half full or half empty?” I responded by saying it was half empty. She looked at me with such love in her eyes and said “No son, its half full… that’s how you have to look at each day of your life!”
There is, of course, my wife Sandi. This May we were married 50 years. As a very accomplished insurance underwriter, she was able to pay for me to go to Georgetown Law School. I have learned so much from my wife. She tragically lost her father at the age 8 in an accident. It was difficult for her mother to raise her and her brother Ted. In high school Sandi excelled academically and was able to get a four-year scholarship for college. When I met her during the college years as part of her scholarship at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, she worked in the cafeteria serving food. The mother of our three daughters Alexa, Ava and Ashley, I saw Sandi inculcate in them the values of fairness and hard work. I have been so influenced by our three daughters watching them build their own families and raising our 10 grandchildren.
Finally there are the women in our law firm who are so dedicated to helping our personal injury clients. There is Rose, Laura, Danielle, Erika and Susan.
Last but for sure not least there is my sister Lisa D’Amato Malatesta who decided to forgo her college education to raise two wonderful sons, Jason and Adam. Much later in life she procured her degree from Stockton and enjoyed a career working in the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office as an assistant to the Prosecutor. We call her Ms. Tenacity.
I ask all of the readers of this article to just sit back and think about all of the women in your life that have influenced you. I am sure the list will be long.
The D’Amato Law firm has built a national reputation for excellence by successfully representing victims who have suffered injury due to negligence. We take the time to build a strong case and see that our clients are fully and justly compensated for their injuries. For a free consultation, call 609-926-3300 or visit https://damatolawfirm.com/.