Today is my wife's birthday. I would like to take a few sentences to pay tribute to this wonderful woman.
Patty's life has been filled with many remarkable accomplishments. Just five years old when her family immigrated to the United States from South America, and not speaking a word of English, she nevertheless excelled in her studies, graduating high school near the top of her class, and earning two degrees from Rutgers University.
She is a 22 year employee of Merck and Co., Inc. - beginning with a two week externship, which led to a summer internship. She proved to be such a valuable asset to the company, that they hired her straight out of her internship, even though she still had a year left on her undergraduate degree.
Over her many years at Merck, Patty has been valued as a straight talker - someone who knows how to get the job done. She makes everyone around her better through her dedication and attention to detail, and has been a mentor to many younger employees. She has also been honored by being named the company's Most Amazing Woman for the past two years.
Undoubtedly Patty's greatest accomplishment is the way she has raised our two beautiful children. Both our kids adore her, and she returns their love tenfold.
She has been strong in the face of adversity - helping me get through the death of my father just ten days after our son was born. When our son was diagnosed with autism seventeen months later, she took the lead in finding the right doctors and the right early treatments - two things that were crucial to the success he is having now.
Patty was able to take the tragedy of our son's diagnosis and find a way that she could use her knowledge of the disease and her incredible energy in a positive way to help others in our situation. She has been raising money and awareness for autism research for just about four years now - exceeding her goals every year!
Primarily because of her efforts on behalf of the charity Autism Speaks, she found out today that she has been named by the Somerset County Commission on the Status of Women as one of Somerset County's Outstanding Women of the Year for 2008.
No one deserves this honor more. Patty has been my personal outstanding woman of the year every year since 1984. Now you know why!