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Activist Receives Assembly Honor

Helen Madrid-Worthen was recently honored as the 40th Assembly District’s Woman of the Year by Assemblyman Robert M. Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys).

The longtime community activist was one of 80 women from assembly districts throughout the state selected for the honor, Hertzberg spokesman Paul Hefner said Thursday. The honorees attended a special reception at the state Capitol on Monday, he said.

“I was totally amazed and impressed at the caliber of women and I wonder how I got there,” said Madrid-Worthen, 63.

Madrid-Worthen “got there” for helping improve the lives of Valley children, Hefner said. As a board director of El Proyecto del Barrio, she helped the nonprofit organization open a health care center last September for low-income families in Canoga Park. She also is a member of Hertzberg’s San Fernando Valley Family and Community Advisory Committee.

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As part of the Grandparents in Books volunteer program, the Woodland Hills resident reads to children in English and Spanish at the Platt Library in Woodland Hills and the Canoga Park Library.

“I try to be a role model so [kids] know how much more valuable they will be when they speak both languages,” she said.

As co-chair of the Police, Firefighter Memorial Advisory Committee, Madrid-Worthen is searching for a Valley site to build a memorial honoring those who have died in the line of duty.

She said she was inspired to install the memorial after her 33-year-old son, Eric F. Reiner, a Los Angeles Fire Department paramedic, was killed in a helicopter accident two years ago. Reiner, another paramedic, a crew member and an 11-year-old girl, who had been injured in a car accident, died when the helicopter crashed in Griffith Park.

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