News 13 asked our viewers to nominate who they thought were the most remarkable women in the Panhandle.
We received so many incredible submissions and have narrowed it down to four.
This week, we are highlighting Mayor Pamn Henderson for her work serving the city of Callaway for the last two and a half years.
Henderson often spends her Tuesday mornings differently than you would expect.
She’s not making phone calls or sitting behind a desk.
She’s meeting with senior citizens who are attending a program that she helped create at the Callaway Arts & Conference Center.
“I’m proud that I was able to go the Council on Aging and Callaway could partner with them – that we could provide these programs for senior citizens to give them time that they can socialize, they can come out an exercise,” Henderson said. “You know they have a good time — it’s good for them physically and mentally.”
This program is a product of her priorities for Callaway.
“You know I don’t want to do something that I have a monument built to Pamn Henderson,” she said. “But it’s things like that that I can do to make life better and easier for our citizens to improve our quality of life – those are the kinds of things that are important to me.”
Henderson became mayor of Callaway in 2017, after Bob Pelletier resigned.
This was a move that was monumental for the city.
“Nobody can come up with anything to indicate that there was ever a woman mayor in Callaway,” she said. “So, I’m honored to be the first woman mayor in Callaway.”
Henderson said her career in politics began long before she became the city’s leader.
She began getting involved when she needed to take her mind off something else.
“My husband passed away in 2002, he developed cancer and passed away in 2002 — and that’s when I think I really got involved,” she said. “It was like I wanted to devote my time to something worthwhile.”
She said she attended the commission meetings with her dad and started serving on different committees.
“I served on the planning board and I served on the audit committee as a private citizen,” she said. “Then in 2012, newly elected Mayor Thompson passed away in office, which left a vacancy on the commission, which is filled by the other four. They appoint somebody to fill the vacant seat, so, at that time I was appointed as the ward two commissioner.”
Henderson was also keeping busy working at the airport.
“I became the director of administration at the airport when it was still in town and was very involved in the entire relocation process.”
After she retired from the airport, her focus became solely on Callaway.
She said she wants others to see the city through her eyes.
“For so long I felt like this side of the county – Parker, Springfield and Callaway didn’t maybe get the attention,” said Henderson. “But I think it’s important that the communities over here on the east side do participate in things.”
She said her biggest accomplishments are the ones that make a difference in the city.
“When I kind of led the charge in front of school board and we were able to keep Callaway Elementary School open when they wanted to mothball it for an indefinite time, I’m really proud of that.”
Callaway was one of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Michael.
Henderson even had damage to her own home from the storm.
She said the values she always upheld have helped her carry on.
“You need to be prepared to stand on your own two feet because you never know what’s going to happen in life,” she said. “It will throw you a curve ball so be ready to support yourself if you need to.”