Despite a fire that devastated their restaurant and museum, the owners and staff at Herkimer Diamond Mines are continuing to bounce back. Another light from the darkness came in the form of an honor bestowed by Senator James Seward.

Senator Seward has named Herkimer Diamond Mines owner, Dr. Reneé Scialdo Shevat, the New York State Senate 2018 "Woman of Distinction" for the 51st district. Seward says, "Dr. Reneé Scialdo Shevat is a true Renaissance woman with a diverse record of accomplishments in business, education, community outreach, healthcare, and tourism."

Dr. Scialdo Shevat has several degrees including a bachelor's from Nazareth College. She also has a a master’s degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and a doctorate from the University of Rochester. Throughout her career she worked at several colleges in New York State.

She's credited with several positive economic contributions to the Herkimer area as the owner of two international wholesale businesses. She also developed a regional visitor center and marina, Unlocked Legends, which incorporates seventy-two regional businesses at the New York State Thruway exit in Herkimer.

The "Women of Distinction" award given to Dr. Scialdo Shevat was established in the late 90s to honor New York women who exemplify personal excellence, or whose professional achievements or acts of courage, selflessness, integrity or perseverance serve as an example to all New Yorkers.