Three women who’ve overcome adversity, including a Larry Nassar-survivor, were honored Thursday afternoon by the Livingston County Habitat for Humanity.

The First Annual Arise and Shine: Winning Women Luncheon was a celebration of local women who have fought through difficulties to accomplish wonderful things in their lives and the community.

One honoree was Olivia Venuto, who lives in New Hudson. Venuto is a Larry Nassar survivor who was abused by the former doctor beginning after 6th grade and going into her college years. Venuto shared her story to the roughly 150 in attendance, saying that the most difficult thing to do was to take the first step, and that just 10 months ago she felt broken. After pouring her energy into improving her mental health, Venuto says she feels transformed into an entirely new person. She now dedicates her life to helping those who can’t help themselves.

Erika Karfonta is the Director for Health, Housing, and Nutrition Services for the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency, or OHLSA. Karfonta was recognized for overcoming the seemingly endless cycle of poverty and dedicating her life to helping those who struggle with it. She shared with the crowd that when a woman is in poverty, she has to let go of the things that help her survive in poverty.

The third honoree was Becky Gremore. Gremore bounced around 5 different foster homes and 10 different schools by the age of 16. She overcame molestation and rape, separation from her siblings, and being treated like slave before finding a loving family in Howell. Gremore is now a Habitat Partner Family member who has worked with Habitat for Humanity in building a home for herself. She said this home will give her children the chance to stay in one school district for their entire grade school education. She said Habitat has treated with her with respect and dignity, and they’ve helped enable her to be “pulled out of the water” and “feel secure.”

For more on Habitat for Humanity and all they do and can help with, visit (MK)