BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Throughout Women’s History Month, the stories of four local finalists in Nexstar’s Remarkable Women contest were shown on NBC Local 33 and FOX 44. Every Tuesday evening, viewers tuned in to help honor the influence women have made to inspire, lead and forge the way for other women.

In the end, however, there can be only one area winner.

Nexstar is grateful for Dr. Patricia Norwood’s commitment to making sure everyone has access to parenting classes and reentry programs. Her nonprofit, Mirror of Grace, provides all opportunities at no charge to the community. The organization also works alongside other agencies to ensure no family goes without a holiday meal and every child has a present to unwrap on Christmas morning.

When asked what motivates her to give, Norwood responded, “I’m enjoying the journey, so whatever comes from day to day, I’m just going to keep smiling and serving and enjoying life.”

Finalist Viki Ellis founded and runs a home for teenage boys in crisis. Heritage Ranch is a fifty-two-acre property in Zachary that was borne from an idea Ellis had while on a trip at the age of fourteen. She says that is when she realized firsthand that with a strong family unit, anything is possible.

Making a positive impact the community hits close to home for Ellis. “I’m raising my kids here, my family here and everyone that I love and care about is here in this region,” said Ellis. “We want to be a part of making it an incredible place to live where families can feel supported and have access to resources.”

Mari Robillard has been catering for Louisiana lawmakers for more than a decade. Her company, Cooking by Design, was created after she retired from a successful career in the legal profession.

Numerous people commented on Robillard’s kind heart and her commitment to ensuring those in need have access to a hot, homecooked meal monthly.

“Love is the impetus of everything,” said Robillard, “so if you don’t start with love, then that’s not going to be a good pot of gumbo.”

Remarkable Women finalist Tonja Myles has worked tirelessly as a mental health advocate and peer counselor for those battling addiction and other crises. Her work in the community, and beyond, expands decades. Myles consulted with President George W. Bush’s administration for six years and was mentioned in his 2003 State of the Union address.

She is a former military police woman and Veteran Trailblazer, an honor given to just 16 females annually. Myles also recently testified on Capitol Hill to push for the roll-out of a mental health crisis hotline, set to go into effect nationwide this summer.

For these reasons, Myles is a Nexstar market-finalist in the 2022 Remarkable Women contest. As part of her winnings, the company will donate $1,000 to a nonprofit organization of Myle’s choosing.

“I chose The BRidge Agency because they do amazing work,” said Myles. “Pushing hope without resources, I basically just didn’t do anything, and when you’re able to connect hope and resources, that’s when you’re really able to change people’s lives.”

Founded by Nicole Scott, The BRidge Agency is a new organization that coordinates access to resources for those living in crime hotspots, according to its website.

“We appreciate those who see the work that we’re doing, but know that it won’t stop here,” said Board Member Franklin Soares. “This (donation) will help us get better and even bigger.”

Market finalists were chosen based on nominations by the local community across 114 Nexstar television markets.

Nexstar’s Remarkable Women contest is designed to honor the influence women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life in the United States. The contest culminates with the naming of the “Nexstar Woman of the Year,” announced exclusively on NewsNation at 8 a.m. CT on April 9. The Nexstar Charitable Foundation will then make a $5,000 contribution on behalf of the “Nexstar Woman of the Year” to the nonprofit of her choice.