In a ceremony at the State House on May 16, Wellesley resident Dona Kemp was honored by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women as one of its “community unsung heroines.” Nominated by the Board of Selectmen, Kemp was one of 268 women from 265 communities throughout the state who was recognized at the ceremony.

“Dona exemplified in every possible way an unsung heroine in our community,” said Katherine Babson, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. “Our community functions because of all the people who do volunteer work without any recognition whatsoever. [Dona] has been in this community for more than 20 years. From the time she arrived here, she has done an enormous amount of good work for the community without any pat on the back and without anyone recognizing her the way she should be recognized.”

Kemp, who has been a Town Meeting member for the last 20 years, currently serves as one of the directors of the Wellesley Housing Development Corporation, and is a strong advocate for affordable housing in town. She is also a longtime member of the League of Women Voters, served on the Advisory Committee in the 1990s, and has been one of the driving forces behind efforts to increase recycling after the annual rummage sale at St. Andrew’s Church.

Gov. Deval Patrick spoke at Wednesday’s ceremony, which was attended by nearly 650 people. “It was just lovely,” Kemp said. “To be with 200 or so women from across the commonwealth, who were also being honored … [was] actually humbling, because when you heard what some of the other women had done, you thought, oh, maybe I should be doing more.”

Housing issues had always interested her, Kemp said, and she was particularly struck by the fact that more affordable housing was not being provided in town. The committee that preceded the Housing Development Corporation had been frustrated by its inability to make more progress with affordable housing, she said, “and I thought, maybe I can go beyond the things I’d been doing [primarily working with the schools] … I thought this was a good opportunity to get started on something new … it seemed like a subject that needed people to be involved with, and obviously I’ve enjoyed it.”

Kemp’s work with the Housing Development Corporation, Babson said, “has made a very big difference in the approach the town has taken towards affordable housing, and small inroads in the diversification of our housing stock.” In addition to wanting to acknowledge the many contributions Kemp has made to the town of Wellesley over the years, she said, “We also wanted to celebrate all of the work our volunteers do in the community.”

Wellesley’s unsung heroine herself agreed that that was largely the point of the honor for her. “I believe there are lots of women in town who are unsung heroines, who are doing things all around town, in churches and in the schools and on committees,” she said. “Being called a heroine is not why we do it — we do it because we like it. I really think that simply naming one is just to remind people that there are thousands of us around.”