By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Debbie DeBeer has been named as the 2014 Delano Citizen of the Year by the General Federated Women’s Club (GFWC).
The GFWC received several nominations for citizen of the year.
Four members of the community nominated DeBeer for this honor, citing her work with the Wright County Master Gardeners, the Big Woods Garden Club, time served as volunteer coordinator and community liaison for Delano Public Schools, Girl Scout leader, president of the 2000 Delano Dream Team, member of Dream Team II, founding member of the Delano Area Council for Arts and Culture, president of the City of Delano historic preservation committee, coordinator of monthly speakers and events for the Delano-Franklin Area Historical Society, and active member of the Delano Food Council.
DeBeer was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1981, with a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy.
She moved to Minnesota in 1985, because of her husband, Harry’s, career with Cargill. They were relocated to Bangkok, Thailand in 1989, and Singapore in 1992, returning to Minnesota in 1997.
The DeBeers chose the Delano area as home because of its size, proximity to the Cargill office, and the school’s reputation.
DeBeer saw real potential in Delano, and with four children in the Delano school system, she wanted to give as much of herself as possible to the community, according to the GFWC. The children are now adults, all living in or close to Delano.
DeBeer has been a driving force behind several community improvement projects in Delano, including the sculpture garden, restoration of the old Delano City Hall (community/heritage center), Heritage Festival, library remodel, Old Fashioned Christmas in Historic Downtown Delano, the farmers markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Delano Community Garden, and decorating and landscaping in downtown Delano.
Described as a true catalyst, DeBeer does not hesitate to take a leadership role when there is a need to be addressed or a new vision to be implemented, according to the GFCWC.
When DeBeer is not working on community projects, she is busy archiving the activities of the organizations in scrapbooks.
Her hobbies include gardening, reading, photography, and varied arts and crafts. She also enjoys traveling and has been able to accompany her husband recently on many business trips around the world.
A community banquet in her honor will take place Saturday, April 26 at the Delano American Legion.
Tickets will be available soon (announcement to follow in a future issue) from any GFWC member or from Pat Sawatzke at the Downtown Beauty Salon in Delano on River Street Wednesday through Saturday, or by contacting Jeanie Pilarski at (763) 972-3360 or Alice Fink at (763) 972-2527.