GFWC names Debbie DeBeer as Delano Citizen of Year

Community to honor her at April banquet 


Debbie DeBeer
Debbie DeBeer

General Federated Women’s Club (GFWC) of Delano has selected Debbie DeBeer as its 2014 Delano Citizen of the Year. GFWC and the community will honor her at the Citizen of the Year Banquet, set for Saturday, April 26 at the Delano American Legion Club.

Four community members 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.

According to the nomination forms, Debbie DeBeer was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy. She originally moved to Minnesota in 1985 due to 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 because of its size, proximity to the Cargill office and the reputation of Delano Public Schools. Debbie 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. 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/History Center), Heritage Festival, remodeling of the Delano Public Library, Old Fashioned Christmas in Historic Downtown Delano, farmer’s markets on Wednesday and Saturday, 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, said GFWC Spokesperson Chris Brazelton.

When DeBeer is not working on community projects, DeBeer is busy archiving activities of the organizations in scrapbooks. Her hobbies include gardening, reading, photography, and varied arts and crafts. She also enjoys travelling and has been able to accompany her husband recently on many business trips around the world.

Tickets for the Citizen of the Year Banquet in DeBeer’s honor will be available soon from any GFWC member or from Pat Sawatzke from Wednesday through Saturday at the Downtown Beauty Salon, 228 N. River St., Delano. Her phone number 763-972-3939. Or contact Jeanie Pilarski, 763-972-3360, or Alice Fink, 763-972-2527.