Remarkable Women Winners Across the Country

Rockford woman has spent 30 years helping people hurt on the job

Charlene Ratzlow has made it her life’s mission to be an advocate for people injured while at work.

Whether it’s going to doctors appointments or the workplace, to make sure they can still do their job after recovery, Ratzlow is with them every step on the road to recovery.

Since there are a lot of manufacturing and farming workers that work all hours of the day, Ratzlow is on call 24/7.

Ratzlow has been working as a catastrophic nurse and case manager for the last 3 decades.

“We started with one employer to work with, and since then there are now 57 clinics in the area, all doing occupational medicine,” she said.

She says the medical field is crucial to areas like the Rockford region, because of the number of manufacturing jobs.

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Rockford woman’s life mission: teaching others how to read

The ability to read and write is a life skill most people learn in elementary school. But some kids who don’t catch on can get left behind.

Dr. Lori Fanello has dedicated her life to making sure no one gets passed over.

“It really hurt me, when I first started out teaching and kids didn’t like reading because it was a struggle for them,” she said.

That feeling inspired her to commit her life to improving literacy in the Stateline.

“This is my passion and I’m doing what I love, and I’m able to do it in retirement,” she said. “Just keeping my hand on the pulse of education is really important to me.”

Dr. Fanello has been a school teacher, coordinator, superintendent of the regional Office of Education, and president of the Literacy Council.

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This week Winnebago County Judge Gwyn Gulley is a role model outside of the courtroom

If you look at Winnebago County Judge Gwyn Gulley’s schedule, you likely won’t see a lot of free space, besides court dates and legal proceedings.

But it’s what she does outside of the courtroom that’s motivating so many people around her.

“As a young girl, I said, ‘I want to be a lawyer when I grow up,’” Gulley remembered. “That was the goal I set, my career choice. And I followed it.”

When Judge Gulley is off the bench, she’s sitting on community boards or in front of a classroom.

Before she was a judge, Gulley was a Guilford Viking, fueling her passion to become an attorney after graduating.

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First of our four nominees Kelli Ritschell-Boehle

March will be International Women’s Month and to celebrate, we’re highlighting four women who viewers nominated for their contributions to the Stateline.

Kelli Ritschell-Boehle is all about making wishes come true through the Nik’s Wish Foundation, which she formed after the tragedy of losing her son. She turned his death from cancer into a mission to help others.

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As we approach International Women’s Month in March, Eyewitness News wants to recognize the great contributions that women have made to our nation and local communities. Remarkable Women is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life.

Eyewitness News will celebrate local women that inspire, lead and forge the way for other women. It’s not just about one day or one month — it’s about what they do, day-in and day-out.

In order to celebrate these women, we need your help to learn about their background and stories. Stay tuned as we announce the final nominates a Remarkable Woman in your life. In the number of weeks, we’ll highlight four local women who will be considered for Nexstar’s nationwide 2020 Woman of the Year Award.