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Mother of the Year

Amy Berry, with her children Cameron, Caden and Chloe, is 2018’s Best Mom in Maricopa. Photo by Mason Callejas


Single mother of three Amy Berry has a lot of love out there. Nominated by six people, she is the 2018 Best Mom in Maricopa.

InMaricopa’s Facebook readers “liked” the nomination of the mother they thought most deserving of the award, and Berry came out ahead among nearly 30 nominees.

“I’m excited, but I couldn’t do what I do without the village to help me,” Berry said.

Originally from Seattle, Berry moved to Maricopa in 2007. She and her children, Cameron, 12, Caden, 10, and Chloe, 5, live in The Villages.

When’s she’s not working full-time for Wells Fargo from home, she’s leading Girl Scouts or running her children to their activities. Her two sons are both involved in football, one also plays baseball, and her daughter takes dance classes.

“Amy has an amazing, big, loving heart,” Peggy Hill’s Facebook nomination stated. “Health hasn’t been on her side; she still brings up the strength to do all. Amy is, for me, the best mom ever.”

Amy Berry tries out new sunglasses from Maricopa Eye Care, one of the prizes she won as Best Mom in Maricopa. Photo by Mason Callejas

Carol Fagerlie said Berry “amazingly juggles children, their activities, her work, family and friends. She’s a hard worker and has a good heart.”

Alicia Hills said Berry is a “huge advocate” for the city, the schools and the businesses.

“I think Maricopa is a perfect place to raise kids,” Berry said. “I know their teachers and their principal. Someone will call me to tell me my kid jumped in the lake at Pacana Park. Well, that’s nice to know.”

Also nominating Berry, Allen Jorgensen called her an “incredibly brave, tough, tireless and loving mom.”

Berry received $200 in gift cards from local merchants, sunglasses from Maricopa Eye Care, a family sitting with Victor Moreno Photography and a bouquet from Fry’s.

In second place, Kylie Williams received $100 in gift cards and a Fry’s bouquet. Finishing third, Jessica Reynolds aka Jessie Lowman earned $50 in gift cards.

With Father’s Day approaching, check Facebook.com/InMaricopa for a chance to nominate and vote for the Best Dad in Maricopa.

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Cheryl Ortiz

Cheryl Ortiz has come through a difficult year and emerged as a strong single mother of three and a mother-figure to hundreds. Now she can officially claim the title of “Best Mom in Maricopa.”

The mother of Caleb, age 11, Adelina, 8, and Elijah, 4, Ortiz is a first-grade teacher at Legacy Traditional School. She estimates she has taught more than 300 students in her 11 years on the job, the last four at Legacy. The mother of one of those former students has become a close friend, Barbie Samsel, who nominated Ortiz for InMaricopa’s “Best Mom” contest on its Facebook page.

She has been through so much and her faith in God has never wavered, and her love for her children knows no bounds,” Samsel said. “She has such a kind and giving heart not only to her own children but also to the children she cares for everyday in her first-grade classroom.”

Ortiz said she was “totally blown away” when her nomination received the most Facebook “likes” of 19 nominees.

“I feel undeserving and so humble,” she said. “There are a million and one wonderful mothers in Maricopa.”

A serious domestic violence situation upended the lives of the Ortiz family this year. She said they were instantly embraced by Against Abuse. The community also encircled them, reaching out to help in often anonymous ways as she helped her children adjust to a “new normal.” The children were “adopted” for Christmas, and cards with cash were left to help through the holidays and beyond.

The community support was clear in the nomination post as parent after parent called her “amazing.”

“She’s super nice and caring,” her son Caleb added.

Cheryl Ortiz with her children Adelina, Elijah and Caleb accepts prizes as Maricopa’s “Best Mom” as voted by Facebook readers. Photo by Mason Callejas

As “Best Mom in Maricopa,” her prizes include a flower bouquet, a Mother’s Day brunch with the family at Arroyo Grille at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, a $50 gift card from Ace Hardware and a month of free training at Longevity Athletics.

See all of the terrific nominees at https://www.facebook.com/InMaricopa/posts/10154798578233495:0

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Now, get prepared for our Best Dad in Maricopa contest coming up in June.


A small sampling of what friends had to say about Cheryl Ortiz:

Cheryl is truly an inspirational person inside and out!! – Shawna Hainey Bennett

Her children are amazing and resilient because she has taught them valuable skills and has taught them to love! – Cindy M. Jones

You would never know she has been through so much because she is the sweetest person. We love her! – Kristina Beauchemin

She’s truly a caring, compassionate woman with the patience of a saint. Always smiling, always watching out for the kids, always seeing a child’s inner worth. – Sharon Elsberry

She is a fighter, she is a beacon of hope, she is a light for God, she is a teacher, a mother, a friend and all around she reminds everyone around her to strive to become their best version of themselves. – Jen Nebeker